Feeding On Failure - New Study Looks At The Value of Messing Up

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A recent study by PsychTests.com reveals that people who embrace failure - and the wisdom, motivation, and resilience it provides - have significant advantage over those who don’t, including higher self-esteem, better coping skills, and a lower need for approval.

There are numerous benefits to be gained from embracing failure, but only for those who have the courage to accept and learn from their mistakes.

The value of failure is not what we lose, but what we stand to gain: Wisdom, experience, and resilience.

When you fail, you have two options: You can admonish yourself and give up, or you can learn from it and try again.

It’s one of the most malicious F-words: FAILURE. Teachers mark it with a red pen, game shows emphasize it with a jarring buzzer sound, and YouTubers celebrate it with “epic” video montages of pure, schadenfreude quality. Why embrace failure then, if it creates a mockery of people? According to a study conducted by PsychTests, failure can be a valuable learning experience for these who are willing to dig through its murky depths to find the gem hidden within.
Analyzing data from 12,259 people who took the Emotional Intelligence Test, researchers at PsychTests examined the attitude, personality, and behaviors of people who are able to see the value of failure (“Failure Embracers”), and those who don’t (“Failure Haters”). Here is what the study revealed:

  •      Good at resolving conflict (score of 76 vs. 50 for Failure Haters, on a scale from 0 to 100).
  •      Good at empathizing with people (score of 79 vs. 61 for Failure Haters).
  •      Self-aware (score of 69 vs. 55 for Failure Haters).
  •      Mentally flexible (score of 77 vs. 58 for Failure Haters).
  •      Hard-working, and willing to improve themselves (score of 84 vs. 59 for Failure Haters).
  •      Able to let go of minor annoyances (score of 86 vs. 62 for Failure Haters).
  •      Fairly good at coping with stress (score of 72 vs. 60 for Failure Haters).
  •      Resilient and capable of “bouncing back” (score of 76 vs. 62 for Failure Haters).
  •      More likely to have high self-esteem (score of 74 vs. 47 for Failure Haters), and a strong sense of self-efficacy (score of 73 vs. 51 for Failure Haters).
  •      Less likely to ruminate excessively (score of 44 vs. 60), and less likely to need other people’s approval in order to feel good about themselves (score of 35 vs. 54 for Failure Haters).


  •      51% of Failure Haters don’t even bother to set goals, because they don't believe they can achieve them (compared to 3% of Failure Embracers).
  •      31% suffer from Impostor Syndrome (compared to 6% of Failure Embracers).
  •      37% said that they are never satisfied with what they achieve (compared to 21% of Failure Embracers).
  •      49% are not satisfied with their work unless they receive praise or recognition (compared to 12% of Failure Embracers).
  •      43% panic when given a task that is even slightly above their capabilities (compared to 23% of Failure Embracers).
  •      46% get frustrated when they don’t get their way (compared to 26% of Failure Embracers).
  •      43% can’t figure out what they want out of life (compared to 22% of Failure Embracers).
  •      34% feel they have no control over their lives (compared to 11% of Failure Embracers).
  •      40% frequently experience self-doubt (compared to 23% of Failure Embracers).
  •      40% back down from challenges (compared to 6% of Failure Embracers).
  •      45% distance themselves from, or try to repress, negative emotions (compared to 37% of Failure Embracers).
  •      44% insult themselves or say self-deprecating things when they make a mistake (compared to 17% of Failure Embracers).
  •      57% prefer to keep quiet about embarrassing experiences (compared to 35% of Failure Embracers).
  •      38% start projects or goals that they don’t finish (compared to 19% of Failure Embracers).
  •      50% don’t like change (compared to 22% of Failure Embracers).
  •      If asked for their top three strengths, 38% of Failure Haters say that they would not know how to answer (compared to 28% of Failure Embracers).
  •      When they are not good at something straightaway, 36% of Failure Haters would rather quit than waste time trying to get better (compared to 8% of Failure Embracers).

“All the mistakes you make, the disappointments you experience, and the criticism you receive are not a signs of your inadequacy - they are proof that you had the courage to strive for something,” explains Dr. Jerabek, president of PsychTests. “Rather than scolding yourself for screwing up, do some self-examination. What went wrong and why? What could you have done differently? What can you learn from the experience? How can you prevent the same thing form happening in the future? And then try again with this new wisdom in hand. The beauty of failure is that it makes us smarter and stronger, and no matter how many times we stumble, we can always get back up and try again. Imagine what would happen if babies learning to walk refused to get up again after falling: We would have a whole generation of adults crawling on their hands and knees.”
“So when you fail, you have two options: You can admonish yourself and give up, or you can learn from it and try again. After all, failure is just another way of saying, ‘This way doesn’t work. Try something else.’ Of course, success is never guaranteed, but a failure is if you don’t even try.”
Want to assess your EQ? Check out our Emotional Intelligence Test by visiting https://testyourself.psychtests.com/testid/3979
Professional users, such as HR managers, coaches, and therapists, can request a free demo for this or other assessments from ARCH Profile’s extensive battery: http://hrtests.archprofile.com/testdrive_gen_1 
To learn more about psychological testing, download this free eBook: http://hrtests.archprofile.com/personality-tests-in-hr
About PsychTests AIM Inc.
PsychTests AIM Inc. originally appeared on the internet scene in 1996. Since its inception, it has become a pre-eminent provider of psychological assessment products and services to human resource personnel, therapists and coaches, academics, researchers and a host of other professionals around the world. PsychTests AIM Inc. staff is comprised of a dedicated team of psychologists, test developers, researchers, statisticians, writers, and artificial intelligence experts (see ARCHProfile.com).

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Ilona Jerabek, Ph.D
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