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Teaching & Failure

A good teacher doesn’t just challenge their students to think differently, he/she challenges them to do differently. And by “do”, I don’t merely mean “solve practice problems, engage in rehearsal performances, or move your body around in the name of doing exercises.” I mean “take real risks in the real world by making a real effort to create real value for real people in a way that subjects you to real failure, real success, real criticism, real praise, real losses, and real profits.

Good teachers don’t protect their students from reality. Instead, they prepare them for reality by encouraging them to act on their ideas within a context of calculated, but non-fictional, risk.

Learning should never be understood as a process that you complete before you act. Learning is doing what you don’t know how to do *while* you still don’t know how to do it. Learning isn’t a safety zone that protects you from failure. It’s a laboratory where you learn how to deliberately experiment with failure as means of creating the results that matter most to you.

Failure is not the enemy of education. Failure is part and parcel of all forms of progress. We fail not because we’re doing it wrong, but because we’re learning to do it right.

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