The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Life is a cycle of reaching for a goal and falling just short. As the saying goes, “reach for the stars and land on the moon.” In a way, we are always failing, just sometimes a little less. And at that rare moment where we achieve our goal, do we even feel elated? It seems like when we fail, that feeling of rejection hammers into our soul. It imprints itself into our minds creating an exhausting trail of frustration. Our successes do not cause the opposite reaction of the same intensity. Getting an A on a test is…fine. Happiness is fleeting. Misery is deep-rooted and eternal.
Failure is only a stepping stone to success when we have the attitude to overcome it. However, like all things in life, mindsets are developed over time. They do not come about spontaneously. We see family and friends deal with their setbacks and mirror their mentality in adulthood. If we harbor a positive mindset, we understand that failure today breeds resilience tomorrow. We will continually search for a silver lining in any situation we find ourselves in.
College is the epitome of failure. The balance of studying versus partying fosters an opportunity cost no matter what you pick. If we decide to study, we miss the party. If we go out, that decision might cost us a grade. Achieving everything is, therefore, impossible. Discerning how far to push ourselves to attain one additional morsel of happiness is the uphill battle until we are no longer in college, and those opportunities are no longer at our feet.
Then what is a failure after college? Is it job related? Or about relationships and friendships? To me, it seems like after college, we either continue our academic career, or start a professional one. We set an arbitrary goal for ourselves (a dream job or degree) and work to achieve it. Once that is attained, we have succeeded. And that feeling of elation? Does it come after we have achieved our goals to the same intensity as if we had failed? Usually, the answer is a resounding “no.”
So why do we put so much emphasis on failures, only to never truly succeed? The answer is different for everyone. Some are satisfied once they have achieved their dream job, and their comfort of living is a constant reminder of the success they have achieved. Others are constantly searching for another path. There is never a point where they are complacent. I am the latter–it almost seems like a failure to stop at any point and feel content with my position in life. There is so much more to see and do in this world that no matter how many goals I set for myself, I will never appreciate everything offered to me.
In that sense, failure is a happy journey. It is not a cycle of misery and heartbreak. We are not the same person with each failure encountered. In fact, as we grow, we tend to like new challenges as a means of bettering ourselves. The ultimate success is how far you are willing to push yourself to become a better person. And only when you can truly do no more, you have escaped the cycle of failure.