Make Friends with Failure

When my World of Warcraft (WoW) raiding team decides to take on a new (for us) fight, we’re aware that failure is all but inevitable the first time – perhaps many times thereafter. The boss (biggest baddie) in any specific raid is by design hard to kill. Yet we believe that we’ll eventually get it down – and perhaps celebrate our victory with a screenshot :-). A few nights ago, for instance, we tried a new fight and wiped (failed) repeatedly. We’ll be back, of course, and try again and again until we succeed.

Fighting the Spirit Kings in the Mogu’Shan Vaults (WoW 2013)

Fighting the Spirit Kings in the Mogu’Shan Vaults (WoW 2013)

For much in life, from learning to walk to acquiring the right strategy for killing a WoW boss, the precursors to success typically include taking risks, failing, reflecting, changing strategy, and trying again. As Aristotle said, “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them” (Nicomachean Ethics 2.ii). As educator Bob Lenz said much more recently, “When reframed as a good, constructive, and essential part of learning, failure is a master teacher” (Edutopia). In short, Lenz’s article is about the importance of making friends with failure.

The only golf course in Azeroth – at Gallywix Pleasure Palace in Azshara (WoW 2015)

The only golf course in Azeroth – at Gallywix Pleasure Palace in Azshara (WoW 2015)

I’m an avid golfer, mediocre at best but in love with the game – walking, talking, and playing with friends in the peaceful park-like spaces of northwoods golf courses. But sometimes (okay, often) I get discouraged. This summer I’ve been working on my swing, changing it up a bit. When my strikes work well, the ball is a beautiful sight to behold – rocketing down the fairway in between the oh-so-green grass and summer-blue sky.

Then, just when I think I’ve grooved in the swing, WHAM! the golf gods slam me. (Golf is a humbling game.) If I have a series of bad strikes, the golf imps attack, swarming in my head, muttering stuff like “You’re rotten at this. Give it up! Go home and do something useful.” The good news is that I’ve learned how to quickly banish the imps, or at least hold them at bay. I learned it from a wise little boy named CrumpleVaporBolt.

Skunky Alemental (pet dropped at Old Pi’ju on Timeless Isle) & Skunk (wild animal found in Azshara and elsewhere) – only skunks in Azeroth I’m aware of (WoW 2015)

Skunky Alemental (pet, Old Pi’ju on Timeless Isle drop) & Skunk (wild, Azshara and elsewhere) – only skunks in Azeroth I’m aware of (WoW 2015)

Crumple, in this cute little video, shows other kids how to make a digital pet skunk. When he makes a mistake that he’d just warned us against, his progress crashes, and, not missing a beat, he tells us, “Don’t sit down and cry if you fail one time. Just do it again.” On his second try he succeeds and celebrates, exclaiming “Yoohoo, I got my new skunk!”

Charming kid – with excellent advice! whether on the golf course or in a digital game or in the classroom. Underlying Crumple’s advice is remarkable optimism and confidence: “If you keep trying, you can do it too,” he seems to say. He’s made friends with failure. And here he found success so sweet that he burst into celebratory song, Crumple’s version of a golfer’s fist pump after sinking a long putt to birdie a hole :-).

Parts of Draenor’s Gorgrond could be carved into a golf course, either along the arid coast (most likely) or even in the lush rolling interior, like here in The Fertile Ground with lots of hazards (WoW 2014)

WoW needs a golf course in Draenor and parts of Gorgrond could be considered, either along the arid coast (most likely) or even in the lush rolling interior, like here in The Fertile Ground with its many hazards – then again, maybe not (2014)



About Lotus Greene

I started the blog called "Educating Lotus" in 2011, shortly after I began exploring the virtual world Second Life. With friends I met there, I migrated my virtual life to World of Warcraft (WoW) and joined an educators' guild. Lotus Greene is my gamer name, one I kept when I started another blog in 2015 called "Not Quite Ignored," which originally focused on the lighter side of news. For a year I didn't blog at all - just didn't get around to it. Lots has changed since then: for one thing I'm now completely retired from teaching; for another, the U.S. political climate has grown darker. I return to blogging with, among other things, the goals of providing "Political News in Brief" every week or so in "Not Quite Ignored" and in "Educating Lotus" occasionally posting screenshots and reflections on aspects of Legion, WoW's most recent and quite exciting expansion.
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4 Responses to Make Friends with Failure

  1. Failure is just practice leading up to success.

  2. Fate Chan says:

    Wow this blog is amazing. Stumbled upon it looking for a good picture of Lore Walker Cho and found an educator actually using great games like WoW and the personal gaming experience it provides as subject matter in a traditional classroom. Eye-opening to say the least.

    I consider myself a senior “free” gamer myself and regard gaming as an enchanting and significant experience that expands the gamer’s mind, enables inward understanding of the gamer’s self and encourages outward exploration of the world in ways individual and valuable to the gamer himself. I even wrote a “Free Gamer’s Manifesto” on my newly started blog The Free Reader Gamer promoting a generally more liberated and deeper view on gaming matters. It will be my honor if you would pay my blog a visit =)

    Have fun and a nice day!
    Fate Chan

  3. This was such an exciting read. It teaches us so many things – a different perspective indeed! Your blog is funnily awesome 🙂

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