no image

What Doesn’t Kill You Gives You XP

by Mary King, CLE Austin

What doesn't kill you makes you strongerEveryone has heard the phrase “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Since most of us are nerds here, I prefer “what doesn’t kill you gives you experience points.” In games that have leveling systems you earn experience points by defeating enemies and completing quests in order to level up. That’s truer to life than we tend to realize—we just don’t get concrete numbers for our experience points.

Making Mistakes is not Fun

Unlike in many games, we also get experience points for trying hard and failing. But, just like in most games, making mistakes is not fun. I’m not going to try to pretend that it is because I’m not supposed to lie at work. It can be incredibly stressful, especially when it’s school-related, but some of that stress can be taken away if you can see how you can learn from the experience.

Sometimes you have to fail at something before you really understand how to do it. Sometimes you have to fail at something many, many times before things can click. To see this in action, watch an episode of Mythbusters. Each time they attempt an experiment that does not work they gain information about what to try differently the next time. This information can be harder to identify when you fail at something yourself since life isn’t a controlled experiment.
You may have to reflect on it for a long time. That’s okay. Don’t worry if you can’t figure out what you could have learned from your mistake. It’s not that there’s nothing to be gained — you just haven’t found it yet.

Learning Through Failure

Mary King at CLE AustinThe nifty thing about learning through failure is that you can often learn multiple things at the same time. Failure teaches us how not to do something, but it also shows us what we already know and do well. I have learned how not to judge if the traction on my shoes has worn down too much; I have also learned that I can fall down a flight of stairs carrying a cake and save the cake. I have learned how not to roller-skate over asphalt; I have also learned that my muscle memory of techniques for falling over safely still works just fine.

I’ve given physical examples because they’re easier to explain briefly, but this also applies to schoolwork. Many students I’ve tutored have learned that they’re actually excellent writers and just need to fix their punctuation to bring their grades up.

What if I fail?

Failure is a part of life that nobody can get away from. It’s going to happen, and it’s going to cause stress, so it’s good to figure out what you can do to deal with stress. Make a list of these things while you’re in a good mood, because it can be hard to think of them when you’re stressed out. Get into a good daily routine, so that if you’re too stressed out to think you can put yourself on autopilot.

Most of all, remember that it’s okay to feel down for a bit if things are going poorly. Sure, there are lots of other people in the world who have it worse than you, but they’re irrelevant to your situation. You don’t want to wallow in self-pity for weeks, but sometimes it can help to take a day or two to acknowledge your feelings. Just make sure that, after a day or two, you’re ready to pick yourself up and start scrubbing that bacon grease off the floor. Or making an appointment to retake that test. Or figuring out how to put the vacuum cleaner back together. Not that I have much experience here — oops, I just lied at work.

The post What Doesn’t Kill You Gives You XP appeared first on College Living Experience | CLE | Choose Your Future.

This has been a special needs program update from College Living Experience | CLE | Choose Your Future. You may also click here to read the original article on the main program website.