Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Remember successes, not failures

Why is it that we remember our failures more than our successes? I'm convinced that we have far more successes in life but they are drowned out by our failures, which we often magnify to the Nth degree.

I'm ashamed to tell this story but it proves my point. Years ago, my son came home with a school progress report. His average was a 94. Looking over the report, I noticed that he had a missing assignment for which he had received a 0.

Instead of focusing on the overall grade, which was pretty darn good, I focused on the missing assignment and the 0. He was proud of the report, and he had a right to be. He had worked hard. I was proud, too, but because I focused on what he did wrong, and not what he did right, he felt frustrated. In fact, he pointed it out to me.

With all the wisdom of a 10-year-old, he said, "But, Mom. I got a 94."

"Yes, I know you got a 94. But you got a 0. How could you not hand in an assignment."

"But you're focusing on the one bad thing and not my overall grade."

He was right; I was wrong. I learned a lesson that day, and I hope I became a better parent as a result.

Even today, he remembers this incident, and from time to time he will bring it up. After it happened, I tried to focus on his successes, and he has had many.

I hope that you can celebrate your successes in life and not your failures.


  1. You are so right on this. Who want's to be their own 'Debbie Downer' staying positive and looking at the glass half full motivates us to improve on a good note.

  2. I have learned very little from my "successes" and much more from my "failures". I would guess that your son did not get the "0" again. In the real world where you work every day a "0" is given to you in the form of a termination from employment or not getting the next promotion. There are proper ways to call attention to both "successes" and "failures". Perhaps that is what needs to be addressed.

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