Have you ever failed at doing something? Do you feel the dread of failing at something? This post will help you deal with failure and in the process show, it is an essential part of life. Read on.
We all face the fear of failing. It is a terrible feeling to have and can lead to stress and anxiety. The act of failing, under these circumstances, can lead to even depression and suicidal tendencies. For example, in India suicide rates is among the highest to a youngster who fails a certain exam.
This is an extremely sorry state of affairs, where failure at one event or task in life can lead to such sad events. It is therefore very important to change the way we think and handle the idea of failure.
But how to do it? We would like to share our tips on how to cope with failure and re-think of it as an important part of life.
6 Ways to Cope with Failure
Accepting How You Feel
The first and most important thing that you should do, if you have failed at something, is to accept it openly. It is very important to embrace your emotions and feelings. One method you can do that is by either writing them down in a diary.
Writing down how you are feeling is a great way to get things out. It also gives you a perspective on how are you able to handle it.
Talking with Your Friends and Peers
The next thing you should do is talking about it with your close friends or family. Do not wallow in despair all alone, as that could spiral into further depression. Talking with friends and family not only helps you feel better but also makes you realize that it is not such a big thing.
Friends and family help you realize that the act of failing is something normal and not a big deal. This helps you deal with your emotional health, which is necessary at that vulnerable point.
Failure Does Not Define You
Another important thing to know is that one moment of failure does not define your life or who you are. You can always try again or move on to other things. Failing at a task or an exam does not mean you are a failure, it means you did not prepare well for that exam or took a big risk and did not plan it well. Failing at something never defines you, but rather it helps you realise your flaws, which we all have.
Rethinking the Idea of Failure
But probably the most important thing that you should do is the change the way you think about “failure”. The problem with our society in today’s world is that we are trained to believe from the start not to make any mistakes. Making mistakes is close to sin and that fuels our anxiety of ‘failing’.
Failing at something is a mistake that you have made while doing a particular task. So, the need of the hour is to think of failing as just another mistake, from which you can learn. It is just another step towards your goals or dreams.
Find Inspiration from examples from the world
One way to feel better is to seek out other examples of people and how they dealt with failure in their life and used it for greater success later. There are many famous personalities who initially failed but later learned from it and became successful.
For example, big names like Jim Carrey, Oprah Winfrey, in their early careers made many mistakes but now they are extremely successful people.
Last but not least you need to look at the failure with a critical eye in order to know your weaknesses. After doing this you can reassess your strategy for the next attempt at the task or an exam.
So, a failure, in the end, is nothing but a part of a step towards the bigger success.
I’ll end with a famous quote by the celebrated playwright Samuel Becket,
“Ever Tried. Ever Failed. No Matter. Try Again. Fail Again. Fail Better.”
So, remember friends’ failure is nothing but a step and part of life and it helps you be a better person. Till then cheers and keep exploring yourself with Brainpundits!
The Growth Mindset Approach
(How it can help you cope up with daily struggles and challenges in life?)
What is the mindset?
Mindset can be described as a belief or set of beliefs to which a person ascribes, determining how one handles a problem/challenge/task/situation. It differs from person to person.
Doctor Carol S. Dweck (Ph.D.) is one of world’s leading researcher in the field of personality, social psychology and developmental psychology. She has coined the term Growth Mindset. Her research has contributed immensely to developmental psychology which in simpler sense indicates the approach to tackle problem/struggles/challenges in our lives.
Growth mindset vs Fixed mindset: She has proposed that people at best can be categorized into two growth mindset and a fixed mindset. Growth mindset individuals are those who believe that abilities can be developed and improved upon. Fixed mindset individuals see abilities and talent as fixed traits of oneself. She presents a contrasting image between the two.
Diagram by Nigel Holmes
Risk and Effort: Growth mindset individual relies both on risk as well as the effort to gain from such a mindset. A belief should be drawn on suggesting that one’s abilities can be improved with effort. One should allow themselves to take the risk to gain experience, should view it as a stepping stone/hurdle.
Alfred Binet, a Frenchman, inventor of IQ test, had created IQ test not to summarize children’s unchangeable intelligence but designed it to identify children who were not profiting from Paris public school. This test should have worked as an identification tool to establish who were benefiting from the current education system and that those who were lagging in it be identified and catered to by reforming education.
How this approach can help you in your daily struggles?
Growth mindset approach simply allows for an open mindset over problem areas/events/situations. Most essentially you should tell yourself that whatever problem has arisen, can be resolved through effort (can be physical/ mental). Your traits/talent/skills are not fixed but can be developed through the right amount of effort and time.
For eg. Supposedly, you are concerned to see that going to the gym regularly has not resulted in much loss in weight. Now you can apply Growth Mindset approach to telling yourself that this challenge/goal has not resulted into failure but that your effort is not producing effective results and more grinding or change in exercise regime is what is needed.
This allows you to see it not as the failure but merely as an event which is taking more time/effort. This will allow you to stretch and persevere for longer. Both these traits are seen in Growth Mindset individuals. You also don’t see it as the task but a process to gain from. Hence you are not failing but working on a project which is taking little longer.
Using Growth mindset to overcome the challenges of life:
To overcome challenges in life, one should not view them as success and failures. These labels usually signify positive and negative emotions in one’s mind. This makes one see themselves as persons who constantly seek to validate that they are good at somethings and bad at others. Think about it this way since you know you are good at something you will only choose those and avoid others. This makes your approach limited to the area or field of expertise. Most great leaders, champions, CEO’s who were of growth mindset saw the challenge as an opportunity, learn to grow and develop intellectual capacities and not as the window to validate themselves.
Michael Jordan embraced his failures. He was not selected in his high school basketball team. He saw this merely as a setback not as a failure.
Michael Jordan in two mindsets:
Three important pointers to view a challenge in growth mindset frame:
1. See a challenge as an opportunity to learn and grow.
2. There are only setbacks no failures. These setbacks are like a wake-up call.
3. Keep up with the pace. Do not pause. Michael Jordan maintained his best game throughout his career meaning he reoriented, reformed, improved and practiced more after winning championships.
Growth Mindset provides an opportunity to change our beliefs about ourselves. More importantly, it provides us with a positive outlook towards life and its challenges, giving an affirmative approach by giving a hopeful and a meaningful way of dealing with problem, task, challenges, and issues. It certainly improves the way we think about our problems and changes us for the better.
Memory is an important tool for understanding, reflecting, producing, reprocessing, various tasks most important of which is in one’s studies/ examination.
Sometimes when we go from our room to the kitchen with some intention we forget why we came to the kitchen in the first place. This probably has happened to most of us. Thankfully new research has enabled us to better learn and memorize terms.
Here are 10 hacks to enable you to memorize better:
1. Learning only what is important: our memory works in a way that it rejects some information and absorbs mostly which we produce or process. Hence underlining/highlighting can reduce mental effort to recognize what is important.
2. Spaced repetition: Spaced Repetition is a hack which can be used to acquire a lot of information and keep it retained in your long-term memory bank. How it works is as follows:
· Read a topic once
· Then revise it after 2 hours of learning/reading.
· Then revise it the next day. (24 hours)
· After a week.
· After a month.
3. Memory works best with associations: Memory works best with an association. If you are learning anything to remember to try to associate with whatever you have learned in past. This automatically reduces mental effort to remember something.
4. Auditory and Visual learning: Reading is not the only way one can absorb or remember. One can listen to information and imbibe It, for example in classrooms teachers often use visual aids to help remember. One can see informative videos or listen to information in form of audiobooks. Psychological research has proved that in some individuals the capacity for visual/auditory learning dominates over reading.
5. Take breaks: Research has shown that breaks improve memory formations. However, should be no more then 10 mins at a time. Above that will qualify for procrastination or time wastage. These breaks should be taken in between learning process.
6. Make notes: This is very important and a classic one. We have heard our parents/ teachers saying, ‘read and write’. But none of them ever explained why writing was important. When writing we are reprocessing and reproducing information this strengthens synapses in our brain. Writing something in your own words helps in retaining vital information.
7. Rehearsal: It is one of the best ways to remember something is trying to remember when going for a walk. This works on the principle of recalling where it strengthens our syntactical connections whereby it becomes easy to remember.
8. Understanding: Rote learning is based on repetition without understanding the text/information and is, therefore, an ineffective way to learn. Research has shown that understanding what we learn on a deeper level can reduce our time memorizing something. Hence understanding is key to memorizing.
9. Memory palace: This is one of the most effective techniques and a time-tested one. This technique has been used by competitors in World Memory Championship. In this one places information in his “palace”, this palace can be anything in one’s mind example his house, a place, room or it can be a series of events.
How to use memory palace? For example, if one must learn the names of all the major oceans of the world. One can associate his/her drawing room with the Pacific Ocean, corridor with the Atlantic Ocean, rooms with Antarctic and Arctic ocean. This way when one visits his drawing room which is biggest of all rooms will be the Pacific Ocean, the corridor would constitute figuratively Atlantic Ocean and rooms which both on top and bottom be the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans.
10. Mnemonics: Its always easier to create meaningful acronyms. This improves recollection. This can essentially help to memorize facts and figures (data which is hard to associate).
These hacks can better enable you to work, process – reprocess information and produce information during exam time. They also have less mental strain and will reduce working hours at the same time improving one’s productivity.
Have you ever asked yourself, what is an education? Many people will answer that education is a. going to school; b. getting good marks, and c. eventually getting a degree that would end up getting you a job.
That is usually the understanding one has of it, no matter where you live in the world. Parents and peers alike tell you, and at times coerce you, to follow this educational setup in the society. But what if I tell you that this understanding of education is a narrow one, confined to the walls of a classroom.
I will tell you the story of education that is beyond and outside these walls. An education where marks are not the only markers of progress but overall personality development is.
An education where degrees are not important but experiencing the varying dynamics of life is. An education where there is no notion of failing as each moment is a learning experience which helps you be a better person.
Failing Behind Closed Doors
I remember during my years throughout school, I used to dread the idea of failing an exam. It’s a dread that we all have, even though we don’t know why failing is seen as such a huge deal. And then I ended up failing my 12th exam.
Little did I know that failing that exam would change the way I look at life and how I came to know about an alternative understanding of education. I stopped going to school after that as I took a break from walled education. I started to explore myself and also started to explore life in the outside world.
Recommended – Psychometric in Corporate Environment
Education 2.0 – Beyond the Classroom
The years I spent outside the classroom, are the actual years that I really learned about myself, about people and about life. I traveled, read books, and also started expressing myself, be it through articles or conversations.
I met and talked to different people in my journey and saw myself getting transformed from a shy-boy, who used to get tongue-tied when talking to people, to a confident man who loves initiating conversations. My curiosity to constantly explore the world led me to new paths.
All these experiences made me more emotionally stable and also open-minded to different ideas and perspectives. These experiences also made me more confident about handling problems that life could throw at me.
A Symbiotic Relationship
I became more assertive about my ideas and my curiosity grew and it eventually led me back to the classroom. But this time not only I was prepared for it, but I also knew what I wanted to study about in life. I did not let other people dictate my choices anymore.
I started reading History in detail to learn about India and how it has reached so far. I also read English literature to know about the subjective experiences of people and their lives. And I also started studying Political Science, a subject I would do my higher studies in, which made me realize about the rules of the society and how they govern the overall functioning of the society.
My experiences outside the classroom actually enabled me to do well inside the classroom. I began linking my experiences, from outside the classroom, with concepts and facts that I started to learn inside it. This made me realize the sheer importance of synergy between the two modes of learning. This symbiotic relationship between the two, I feel, is very important for the overall development of an individual and his/her personality.
Recommended – Why Do People Lie? | To Lie is to Human
The problem I feel with the mainstream definition of education lies with importance to marks, and they were the markers of someone’s intelligence. But these marks do not define or even help a person’s personality development or even intelligence.
In fact, many have started questioning the very famous IQ test as a reliable marker of a person’s intelligence. Many have now started advocating for overall personality tests that would help people understand their strengths and weaknesses so that they can have a better understanding about themselves, which will enable them to walk a more suitable path in life.
And in order to develop an overall personality, one has to first understand that there exists a realm of education outside the walls of a classroom, which is as equal as the one inside the classroom. They not only complement each other but excelling in both would lead to a more complete, well You! So, what are you waiting for?
Start educating yourself by going outside, meeting new people, traveling, and exploring in order to realize the full extent of your potential. And remember, there is no such thing as the failure but rather everything is an experience you learn from.
Now, I have talked a lot about personal development and some of the dimensions of it in this article but I can hear your asking, how do I know what traits I have? Am I an assertive person? Am I an open-minded person? Or Am I pragmatic or a romantic? Well not to worry, as Brainpundits has all the answers to your curiosity about yourself as it offers you various personality tests that you can take to fully explore yourself.
So Happy exploring yourself and be awesome!
To Lie is to Human: The Science of Lying
Do you remember the first time you told a lie? If I try to remember my first lie, it might have been in my early childhood. I remember lying to my mother that I had gone to study but in reality, I was playing with other kids outside. The odds are, you might have done the same in your childhood but in different circumstances. There’s nothing to be ashamed of or to feel guilty about it as lying is one of the most common attributes we humans have. The history of humankind is full of people who not only lie but use them to fool others and gain an advantage or to get out of a tricky situation. From people like Frank Abagnale (remember the film Catch Me if You Can?) who conned hundreds of people with his lies and charm to politicians like Richard Nixon or even Bill Clinton, who lied under oath! (an impeachable offence under the U.S law).
why do people lie?
Some of the first research to understand the phenomena of lying was done by Bella DePaulo (1996) and her colleagues. They found out from the study that out of all the 147 participants, almost all of them lied on an average two or three times a day. Some of these lies were small lies in order not to hurt someone’s feelings or some of were excuses in order to get out of an errand. But some also admitted to telling some serious lies like hiding an affair. Researchers have argued that the behaviour of lying must have originated shortly after the emergence of language. The realisation of the power to manipulate others without using physical force may have proven be to be one of the causal factors behind lying. Sissela Bok, in her book (1978), has argued that the act of lying is the easiest way of gaining power when compared with other ways. She says “It’s much easier to lie in order to get somebody’s money or wealth than to hit them over the head or rob a bank”.
I go back again to the example of lying in our childhood, when we lie for the first time. Bruno Vershcuere (2011) has argued that lying is an essential part of our developmental process like walking or talking. He argues that children learn to lie between the ages of two to five. Moreover, they lie the most when they are faced with questions of independence. To study the development of lying in children, Kang Lee (2013), along with his colleague in a study found out that lying is part of the overall development process of a child. According to this study the percentage among children for lying increases with age. Among two-year-olds, only 30% are caught lying but as the age increases the numbers also increases as among 3-year olds, the number shoots up to 50% and in the case of eight-year-olds, it is at a staggering 80%!
Researchers have also argued that kids also get better with lying as they age. In the case of the above experiment, two and three-year-olds after some probing told they peeked, albeit not knowing what was their transgression. But eight-year-olds, learned to hide their actions by giving a story or saying the complete opposite with conviction. Researchers have argued that the rise in lying skills depends on the child’s development of the ability to imagine himself/herself in other’s place.
But the question arises that are people, who lie more often, unique or different from those who don’t? Researchers Yaling Yang (2005) and her colleagues undertook just a study to investigate the mapping of the brain among different individuals. In the study, the researchers compared the brain scans of three different groups. One group had 12 people, having a history of repeated lying, the second with 16 people who were deemed to be having an anti-social personality disorder, and the third group with 21 people who were neither. The study found that the people who lied often had a greater connectivity within their brains, signifying that they are likely to come up with better stories, plans etc. Although, this could have also have happened because of years of habitual lying.
In another study, Nobuhito Abe and Joshua Greene (2014) performed scans on their subjects using fMRI (Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and found that people who lied and were dishonest showed greater activation in a certain part of the brain which plays a key role in processing the idea of rewards. Green, while explaining the findings, argued that the more excited your reward system gets at the possibility of getting money – even in a perfectly honest context – the more likely you are to cheat or act in a dishonest way. Simply put, greed may lead you to lie!
The Paradox of Being Human
What is puzzling though if, which is being argued by research, the act of lying leads to better connectivity in the brains or it is a sign of early development of children or the thought of lying or being dishonest excites our reward system in our brains, then why don’t we do it more often. This is the same question that Dan Ariely finds interesting as he wants to understand why is it that people don’t lie more. In an experiment conducted on dishonesty, Ariely, in his ‘the dishonesty project’, gave volunteers simple math problems to solve and if they get answers right they would get paid for them. The volunteers were told to shred the sheet after the test and told to report how much they got correct. Most of the volunteers lied when they reported but what Ariely found interesting was that the people didn’t increase their levels of lying, even when the amount of money was increased. People stopped from lying all the way – even though they were given clear opportunities and incentives to do so. Ariely argues that the reason could be that people want to see in themselves as honest beings, which could be because the value that honesty has in the society. So, people might have internalised honesty as an integral value as a human being.
But researchers like Timothy Levine (2010) have argued that overall it is better to be truthful and honest as these two determine the implicit trust that we have in social relationships and public communication. If we lose faith in these then overall faith in the people would be destroyed and people would stop having social relationships. Overall, we get far more benefits from believing and occasional moments of getting fooled by lies or deceptions are just hiccups. Robert Feldman, however, argues that this belief actually helps the liars. He calls it the liar’s advantage. As people usually are not expecting lies as they are not searching for them in every form of conversation and this is often used by the liars.
In Conclusion – Main Reasons for Lying
After going through a brief survey of research, we can identify certain key reasons for lying. The first type of lie is what we call the ‘white lie’. It is the type of lie we say when we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings or we want to protect someone from emotional harm. For e.g. if someone in your family has cancer but you don’t tell, say your grandmother to save her from the emotional toll that such a news may take. The second type of lie comes out of fear, i.e. when we are afraid of the consequence of telling a truth. Lying in our childhood to escape from a parent’s beating is easiest example to think about. The third type of lie is linked with greed, as research has shown, that we use lies at times to maximise our profits in our daily lives. Last but not the least, the fourth type of lie is similar to the previous one. It is when we exaggerate about things to a certain extent to the other person to project or inflate an image of a product, so that people end up accepting it without questioning. Salespersons are the prime example people who uses these lies. Similarly, politicians also use these lies in order to project a larger than life image. So, think and ask yourself two questions: How many times you lie in a day? Second, of the four types, which type of lie you use the most. And if you think you don’t like that much, the answer to the above two questions may surprise you. Till then, Happy Lying Everyone!
Abe, N., & Greene, J. (2014). Response to Anticipated Reward in the Nucleus Accumbens Predicts Behaviour in an Independent Test of Honesty. Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 34(32): 10564-10572.ext
Bok, S. (1978). Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life. New York: Vintage.
Depaulo, B. (1996). Lying in Everyday Life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 70(5): 979-995.
Lee, K. (2013). Littler LIars: Development of Verbal Deception in Children. Child Development Perspect, Vol. 7: 91-96.
Levine, T. (2010). People Lie for a Reason: Three Experiments Documenting the Principle of Veracity. Communication Reserach Reports, Vol. 27(4): 271-285.
Verschuere, B. (2011). The Ease of Lying. Consciouness and Cognition, Vol. 20(3): 908-911.
Yang, Y. (2005). Prefrontal White Matter in Pathological Liars. British Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 187: 320-325.
What is existential crisis?
I am writing this as my first blog post and straight of the bat, I want to address a big issue. This issue is a feeling. It is a feeling that people experience in their lives at one point or another and you too must have felt it at least once.
Don’t you sometimes get the feeling that you are wasting your life, that you lack a sense of purpose or direction? A feeling of not living your life to the fullest. It almost feels like you have lost the battle of life and you feel defeated, confused and sense of panic is prevalent on your outer surface.
This panic is the byproduct of frustrations you have been dealing in your life and it feels like all of a sudden it all comes crashing down on you, all at once. The emotional burden that you feel at that point is called an “Existential Crisis”.
Experiential crisis is common to everyone, just that different people handle it differently. Everyone in life develops a coping mechanism for this feeling.
It might be a quiet hobby for some, a wild night of partying for others but this feeling seldom goes away if you try to sweep it under the rug. The important thing to do is to admit that there is a definitive problem in your life and you need to take actions to correct this issue.
The pain that comes from inaction is huge but it’s nothing compared to the regret that you will feel after some time.
Take me for example. I have had a few crises in my life. When I was in XIIth I was preparing hard for IIT. Didn’t get through. That almost crushed me, my hope to do something in life was gone.
Life seems quite hellish, even though I managed to get into a good college. It was just my mindset at that time. Nothing seemed right. I felt like a failure and thought that my only purpose in life was to get into IIT and prove I wasn’t a failure.
So, I prepared for it again. Didn’t get through. Dropped a year in college because of that. This caused a great deal of stress to me, I felt unhappy and got into depression. Eventually, I came out of it. And I realized that the key is a 3-step process.
Which means, take an action in life. Then review its effects. And then based on the effects we change accordingly.
This Loops over again as we take another action, review its effects and then change accordingly. That is the crux to living a life which you want and not a life which you currently have.
A big problem with this strategy, however, is that people find it hard to change and it takes big life events to affect us in a big way and make us change.
This is a characteristic intrinsic in all humans, they are unwilling to change. It takes a lot of pain to change oneself. And this is why we suffer from an “existential crisis” sometimes in life.
Now comes the golden question. How to handle this? The journey of a million miles always starts with the first step. When dealing with a personal crisis start by making a list of things which are bothering you at that particular moment, quantify your fears and anxiety.
Knowing your problems is the starting step to fixing them. Side by side you should also make a list of things you are thankful for. If you have a choice between keeping things bottled up or talking to someone who cares about you, you should always choose the latter no matter how difficult you think the decision is.
When you are dealing with your own personal crisis always remember one golden rule. It’s always better to suffer the pain of discipline than to suffer the pain of regret. So, do try to change In life. Do you think you know existential crisis better? Do share you thoughts with us!