RESOURCES REQUIRED: 1 Laptop per pupil, with Coaches PC linked up to projector with sound. A5 paper and pencil per pupil for the drawing task.

Mistakes are good!

People used to think that we were simply born clever or not. New scientific discoveries are proving that that isn’t the case at all. Last coaching session we learnt that scientists have now discovered that like any other part of our body we can develop our own brains to do what ever we like. There really is no limit to what we can develop or train our brains to do … so we can make ourselves clever at what ever we want. A very important part of this brain development is making mistakes. Our brains develop most quickly when we are making mistakes. Evolution has set up our brains to specifically learn from making mistakes.

How do you feel when you can’t do something or something does not go as well as you had planned or hoped?


People that exhibit a fixed mindset would see failure as proof that they were no good at what ever it was that they were trying to do.

growth mindset

People exhibiting a growth mindset would see a failure as simply the first step at beginning to get it right, and would value this first failure as an opportunity to learn and to work out how to get it right on their next go.

Famous Failures

Many success stories of famous people have only occurred through great persistence, after many setbacks and failures.

If you never fail, you’ll never succeed.
Einstein      Albert Einstein

The failure: His teachers called him ‘slow’. He didn’t learn to speak English until he was 7 years old.

The success: He won the Nobel prize for physics

Sanders     Colonel Sanders

The failure: Now a famous KFC fried chicken recipe, Sanders was rejected 1008 times before a restaurant accepted the recipe and began making fried chicken.

The success: KFC is a worldwide brand, making billions of dollars a year

Winfrey     Oprah Winfrey

The failure: Oprah was fired from her first TV job and told she was ‘unsuitable’ for television

The success: Became a billionaire through her popular talk show and television network

Rowling     J.K. Rowling

The failure: Her Harry Potter books were rejected by 12 publishers

The success: Rowling created Harry Potter, now estimated to be worth £15 billion

Elvis      Elvis Presley

The failure: After a performance, the concert manager told him he would be better returning to his old job of driving trucks.

The success: Elvis is one of the most famous singers of all time

Science     Failure in science

Science and experimenting is all about trying something out – if it works, great, but we can probably do it even better. Failing is a vital part of science. Scientists are constantly developing theories to explain how something happens or to try to solve a problem. If a theory ‘fails’ it can often be a good thing so failures are not even considered as such – they are called experiments!

To develop a growth mindset you have to begin to except failure as a necessary part of learning and that can mean stepping out of your comfort zone and having a go even if you think that you might fail…especially when you feel your might fail. If you don’t fail than you don’t create an opportunity to get better…to learn.

In session K2 we saw the amount of electricity in the brain of both a fixed mindset brain and a growth mindset brain when facing a challenge in this image below. We see that the amount of electrical activity in the Growth mindset brain is greatly increased meaning that it is learning much better.


You can think of the word FAIL as standing for the First Attempt In Learning

This idea is explained very well by visualising something called the “Learning Pitt”.

  • Give an example of a challenge you faced?
  • How did this make you feel?
  • Did you overcome this…YES (& how)/NO?
  • How did this make you feel?
  • What did you learn from this?


Draw your own version of the Learning Pitt onto a piece of card, make it your own and … Keep your learning pitt drawing in your pocket this next week. Whenever you face a challenge and are not sure about having a go or trying because you feel that you are likely not to get it right or just find something difficult…get it out and have a look at it before jumping into the Pitt!