Nourish, Flourish, Live

In a book I’ve just started reading – First Bite – Bee Wilson discusses the reason for the current crisis in nutrition-related health and the underlying causes. She writes “we seem to have lost the old-fashioned concept of ‘nourishing’ ourselves.”

My first thought was how quaint the word ‘nourish’ sounds. Then I thought of it’s rhyme, ‘flourish’. A term used widely in ancient and moral philosophy and one to which we have little connection these days. Both these words and their underlying concepts feel old-fashioned, and maybe this is the root of our troubles – not only our nutrition problems, but wider health problems, mental health included. Perhaps we have mislaid a centuries old idea that the principal endeavour of life is to flourish.

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Nourish, Flourish, Live

Importance of Failure

The short answer to ‘Why is failure important?’ is to paraphrase the twee quotes and sayings that tell us ‘only by failing can we succeed’. Although clichéd – and slightly nauseating – there is truth in these motivational quips.

“Failing”, or rather, answering questions incorrectly in an educational setting, results in more brain activation (Falkenstein, Hoormann, Christ & Hohnsbein, 2000; Moser, Schroder, Heeter, Moran & Lee, 2011), longer lasting memory and better performance on subsequent tests (Kornell, Hays & Bjork, 2009). This is not so surprising when you look at what goes on in our brains when we learn and lay down new memories. What is unfortunate is how little failure is now permitted within schools, homes and society in general. Whether this lack of permission contributes to fixed mindsets, whether a fixed mindset leads to the vilification of failure, or whether there is another cause is not important. Seeing the link between mindset and approach to failure is important, because in this we see the means for fostering growth mindset in all.

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Importance of Failure