The Shampoo Effect of Failure

The Shampoo Effect: The (very scientific) principle that when adding shampoo to your hair for the second time during a shower, it magnifies and lathers a full head of hair with much less shampoo than the first time. It instantly amplifies and covers your whole head.

We’re going to apply this highly sophisticated term to failure. When an individual has failed repeatedly it will impact their confidence, self-esteem, perseverance, and grit. They may be anticipating messing up. They may put forth no effort because they have been beaten down by so many negative experiences. The situation could be anything: tests, schoolwork, dating, communicating with parents, sports teams, and the list could go on. Once a person starts to reverse this trend, and move in a positive direction, the shampoo effect comes into play.

The key is to understand that once it is turned around, or beginning to be turned around, there will still be setbacks. If a student failed Math first semester and is desperately trying to improve during second semester, she is striving for positive change. That student might do well on the first 3 tests of the semester. But whenshe fails that 4th test, the shampoo effect must be avoided. This setback cause significant regression throwing her back to her Semester 1 confidence, self-esteem, effort, and perseverance.

When building new behaviors and patterns, it must be pre-known that setbacks are going to happen. It is important to be aware and understand that this is not a ”defining moment”, but it is simply a miscue and the show must go on. Instead of falling back into those first semester mindsets and cognitions, the student will be prepared to understand, cope, and be aware of what it will take to move forward. A setback can “drag someone back” to a previous point in time both mentally and emotionally, but with hard work, by both the individual and a professional, the individual can continue to make growth and develop in the face of setbacks.