We like to pay lip service to failure, and in particular to its potency as an educator. Failure need not be a total loss, we’re told, because we can learn from it and apply those lessons in the future. But do we? Chicago Booth’s Ayelet Fishbach says the evidence suggests not. Research conducted by Fishbach and Chicago Booth postdoctoral fellow Lauren Eskreis-Winkler finds that people tend to remember their successes but forget their mistakes. The researchers further find that people have an easier time learning from others’ failures—which suggests that self-esteem may be the reason we don’t internalize our own failures.

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