The Psychology of Failure​



I failed. 🙊

I failed often. 🙉

I failed badly. 🙈

working in tech can feel fulfilling

and also terrifying 😳

and our thoughts can be absurd

we spend a lot of time with our thoughts

it's okay.

i can do this.


This seems impossibly hard.

I don’t understand it.

If I can’t understand this now...

I’ll never be able to understand it.

They can write perfect code so easily, and on the first try. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do that.

My code is so awful. Theirs is so much better!

oh my god.

i can't do this.

it's okay.

i can do this.

it's okay.

i can do this.


i give up.

notice a pattern?

anything short of perfection was a failure.

all or nothing


cognitive distorition

thinking in absolutes is a very human thing to do

unreasonable standard

How many of us are perfect?

©Beth Evans

The language we use with ourselves is often the most unkind. 

cognitive restructuring

recognizing the

shades of grey

Well, I still don’t understand this abstraction, but I finally got a handle on that tricky function today!

This seems impossibly hard, I’ll never learn it.

I struggled fixing that bug on my own today, but I wrote the tests for it much faster this time!

I didn’t do it right the first time, I’ll never get it right.

things to learn


Changing your internal messaging takes

constant work.

1. All or nothing thinking is a trap.

Look for the shades of grey in between.

I give up.

My inability was a failure.

My intelligence and capabilities were fixed.

How smart and capable I am now are how smart and capable I will always be.

People learn differently.

Learning is not binary.

Carol Dweck

incremental theory of intelligence

growth mindset

fixed mindset


quicker to give up

opportunity to learn


intelligence is static

intelligence can grow


fixed mindset


growth mindset


i'll never get there

i'm not there yet

i'll never get there

“If you get the grade not yet, you understand that you’re on a learning curve. It gives you a path into the future.”

tech = constant learning

(with its own learning curve)

perfection isn't what indicates learning.

effort is.

2. Our intelligence is malleable, just like our mindsets.

Remember the yet.


things to learn


things to learn


Am I actually getting any better at this?

things to learn


reflect on how far you have come

critical reflection

reflecting in the moment

reflecting after the moment

John Dewey

education theory:

written reflection

journals + notebooks


and how they lead to your actions.

understanding your assumptions,

your feelings,

only if we understand our actions in the past can we change them in the future

3. Looking back is just as important as looking forward.

Celebrate how far you've come.

failures in my own thinking

reflects on successes and failures

recognizes their growth

believes their intelligence can change


the belief in your own ability to achieve something.


facing failure is a step towards becoming a programmer with


it's how you pick yourself up from it that matters.

failure is inevitable.

i give up.


thank you!

i can do this.

i give up.


i can do this.

and you will.

i can do this.

The Psychology of Failure

By Vaidehi Joshi

The Psychology of Failure

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