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Life > Experiences

What to Do When You Fail 

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at TCU chapter.

Failure. A thing we all try to avoid but inevitably fall into. Failure is a part of being a human being which though we may dream about being anything other than one (like a superhero or a mermaid) we simply cannot change. So, from one flawed human being to another, here are some things you can do when you (inevitably) fail. 

  1. Check in with yourself and question what is the worst that can happen?

Okay, my audition went poorly and the first thing I think about is how everything is my fault: “I should have rehearsed more or warmed up for longer.” No, failing never feels good but you can walk through a few questions that may not only make the process of moving on a bit easier but also keep you proactive in the next thing instead of questioning your own worth. 

  1. What is the worst that can happen?
  2. What did I learn?
  3. What’s my next move?

Personally, these questions really help me because I am a very anxious individual. When I fail (or even before I attempt) I always ask what is the worst thing that can happen? For me, it is that I won’t get cast or that they will think I am untalented- two things that are completely not only out of my control but also sincerely subjective. Or I think I am not smart enough, which is an ever-present thought that is both a lie and can also be marked up as only my anxiety. By only thinking about what the worst thing that can happen to ME is (or by saying I am not enough) I move onto my next step.I eliminate the fatal question as to if I am enough. Spoiler alert- you are. 

  1. Acknowledge toxic habits we do to cope and acknowledge how you truly feel 

This is something that changed how I look at failure. In the past, regardless of how much I wanted something to go my way, If I did not succeed I would dismiss my feelings with “well I didn’t really want it anyway” even though everyone, including myself, knew that I really wanted it. Minimizing your pain will not make it easier to swallow nor will it be productive In the long run. Instead, cope with the loss of losing something that you truly wanted (or maybe something you even considered as a need) by listening to how your heart feels. In fact, the first step to acceptance is allowing yourself to process. It is okay to hurt. You are only human. 

3. Accept that failure means something else is coming 

How many times have you rebounded before? Every time you bounce back, you gain mental muscle and new ways to get back up. We have all heard the saying “when one door closes, another one opens” and personally, it is something I laughed at for the longest time. We obviously never want to hear that the thing we really wanted failed to happen so now something better will happen. But why is that? Whether that be another grade or a completely new job opportunity have faith that better things are on the way because you now have the time and space to find them. 

4. Listen to happy music

Let’s be honest. Sometimes failure is more inward than outward yet they feel the same. Not getting a job may make me feel the same way as getting upset over something deemed small or not worth my time. Personally, body image is a constant battle for me (and for many) and I often feel like I fail myself for being too anxious about how I am being percieved. Every time I feel like I failed myself or even failed something physical like a test, I love to listen to music that makes me feel like I am in a movie, where someone wrote what happens to me and all I am here to do is play that out. There was nothing I could have done to re-write the script! We all hear that “life is not fair” and sometimes this narrative is all that puts me to ease. Here are a few of my favorite soundtracks or single songs that remind me that I am simply a human being while also transporting me into dystopian world where this moment makes me stronger.

“Vienna”- Billy Joel “you can’t be everything you want to be before your time” Read that quote again and again and again 

Little Women” (2019), “Divergent”, and “Hunger Games” Film Scores- Again, the idea that I am in a movie to romanticize my life 

All Dodie but specifically her song “When”. Beautifully demonstrates the feeling of waiting for your life to change or for good to happen to you. (Dodie once said when reflecting on this song that she wrote it to explain the feeling of waiting for something but also feeling like you are wasting time waiting. So act.)

“Yeah” by Usher. You cannot listen to that song without your body being PUMPED with serotonin. 

“Got to real”- Cheryl Lynn. EVERYONE knows this song and It will no doubt make you want to dance.

What is the difference between those that fail and continue chasing dreams and those that fail and sit in loss? Their mindset. Though failing is a taboo subject we try to not think about, (or going back to number two, fall into bad habits when speaking about them) it inevitably happens because we are just human beings. So I encourage you to fail proudly and embrace what it is to be human because that, no matter how much we wish, will never change. After all, failing is what leads you to dreams coming true. 

Maddie Suttles is a BFA Acting major Pre-Law track at TCU! She loves anything Greta Gerwig, advocating for mental health, adventures, true crime, video games, and reading everything (follow her on good-reads)! As a 2w3, if you ever need a friend give her a call! Instagram: @maddiesuttles_