Having just read the New York Times article “What if the Secret to Success is Failure?” I can’t help but nod in agreement. Yes, to have an education, finish school, graduate from highschool or even a college degree does not ensure you will have a successful life. A degree does not guarantee that you won’t jump off the balcony because of a broken heartache, nor does it guarantee you will know how to handle the stresses of life and stop yourself from falling victim to a nervous breakdown. Traditional schooling paid attention to grades, to achievement tests, to placement exams and all the while, they forgot about focusing on the student’s character. How do they handle stress? How do they interact? Are they a good person? Do they think of other people?
The article mentions how those who succeeded in college were not always necessarily the ones who scored the highest in class and got the best grades. They were the ones who knew how to get up after they failed. They were the ones who knew how to handle a failure, a bad grade, and move on. They sought for help and worked hard with a determination to succeed. They were the ones who graduated from college despite coming from a background where college degrees were not the norm.
I think the same applies to everyday life.
Once out of school, out of the safe confines of classrooms and professors, being out in the world can be a pretty daunting task. Whether you succeed or not depends a lot on your character. How resourceful are you? Do you know how to ask for help? Do you know how to treat other people? Are you aware of other peoples’ feelings? Most importantly, do you know how to get up after you’ve failed?
If you never fail, if you are never allowed to fail, then you would never know how to pick up yourself after having failed. That’s why you hear stories of girls committing suicide because of heartache and students who kill themselves because of a bad grade. They didn’t know how to handle failure. They were never allowed to fail. They thought failure meant the end of the world. They grew up protected from failure.
It’s important to know that it is OKAY TO FAIL. That I think is an important lesson everyone should know. It’s okay to fail. Failing doesn’t make you a bad person. We are humans. No one is perfect.
Failure in itself is a learning experience. What’s more important is to ask yourself, what did you learn from that failure? What went wrong? Once you realize this, you can move on so that you won’t repeat the same mistake again.
That’s a trait for success. That’s what makes the difference. Because you have failed, you know its pitfalls and you know how to avoid them. Therefore fail to succeed. Success cannot be gained without first failing.
Here’s to learning!