This article examines the concept of a failure quotient and goes on to offer advice on the type of mentors that a person needs and questions that should be asked in an interview.

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

Careers, business studies, entrepreneurship

Key Questions to Explore:

  • What is a “failure quotient”?
  • What types of mentors exist?
  • Are there certain questions I should ask in a job interview?

New Terminology:

Failure Quotient

Materials Needed:

Copies of the article for the students

Study and Discussion Activity

Introduction to lesson and task:

Too often young individuals get dejected when faced with failure and they lose the enthusiasm to persevere. It often leads to a feeling of despair and a “what’s the use?” mentality. It is important for them to realize that not everyone succeeds every time and that we learn from our mistakes and continue to grow. Seldom do we understand that successful people may be the product of their many failures and it is important for young people to understand that true growth comes from capitalizing on personal mistakes by improving the process. The old adage that a true definition of insanity is continually repeating the same process and expecting a different outcome, sheds light on how important it is to evaluate what happened and to grow from that experience so that error will not be repeated. This lesson will have the students focus on what the article labels as “failure quotient” and the role that mentors can play in assisting individuals in growing through effort.

Action (lesson plan and task):

  • Ask the students to explain the old adage “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
  • Once they have done this, ask them to explain the following quotation from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”
  • Using this as background, establish with the students that we can learn a lot from our mistakes – in fact, we can learn more from our mistakes than from our successes.
  • Have them individually write down three things they think they should do in order to get the most benefit out of any failure they may experience.
  • Get their responses and compile a list as they provide answers.
  • Ask them now to explain the term “mentor” and then explain how a mentor could assist them in avoiding mistakes and profiting the most from any failure
  • Again, compile a list as they give their responses.
  • Conclude this part of the lesson by reinforcing the idea of perseverance and growth through failure by giving them the following quotation from Winston Churchill which is found in the article: “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm”.

Consolidation of Learning:

  • Provide them with a copy of the article and allow them time to read it.
  • Get their reactions to what they have just read and compare the ideas presented in the article with the response lists the students generated earlier.
  • Also, get their reactions to the ideas presented in the “Eight questions to ask in job interviews” and “Quick Hits” sections of the article.
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

The students will:

  • understand that failure, if viewed correctly, can lead to growth and success;
  • understand that not everyone succeeds every time;
  • appreciate the roles that mentors can play in assisting growth and aiding in successful endeavors.

Confirming Activity:

  • Have the students complete a short writing assignment in which they, on a scale of 1 to 10, indicate what they believe is their “failure quotient” and what they are going to do to improve it.