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Rethinking Failure

We’re always told that education is important. However, some people believe that to become successful doesn’t necessarily mean you have to earn your Master’s degree. The United States and Canada have growing numbers of entrepreneurs, many of them without Bachelor’s degrees. However, students, entrepreneurs, and graduates have one thing in common: the fear of failure.


Like many others, failure was not considered an option for me. I feared failure so much. Failing an exam felt like my life was completely over. When I vent about this problem to my friends, they often remind me of how failure is the right pathway to success. Many successful people we know today have failed in some way. Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star because the editor felt that he had no imagination or ideas. Colonel Harland David Sanders was fired from dozens of jobs before starting KFC. Sir Isaac Newton’s mother pulled him out of school to run the family farm (which he ended up failing at). There are many other public figures who have failed, whether they got fired from a job or they didn’t get into the school they wanted. Sometimes, it’s because of something they really had no control over. After hearing stories like these, I began to reconsider what it meant to fail.

I want to introduce you to a TED TALK video called, “Rethinking Failure” by Barbara Corcoran.

She talks about how failure shaped her vision in life and how she overcame the negative aspect of failing. Corcoran started a business with her then boyfriend, who gave her a loan to start her business. They eventually ended their relationship and when she finally left their business partnership two years later, he told her that she will never succeed without him. Barbara took that as motivation, which lead her to becoming a successful businesswoman.

My fear of failing was excessive. Seeing other people around me get so far ahead in life felt really discouraging. When I failed a midterm, I would put myself down by thinking I wouldn’t be able to succeed. When I started watching videos like Barbara’s Ted Talk, I realized that I needed to change my perspective on failure. Barbara gave some tips in the video on how to deal with failure. One of those tips is to reward herself for the efforts that she made. It is important to own up to the mistakes we make on a midterm or quiz, but we should always remember that we put our best effort into our work and that we will try harder next time.

Photo via Unsplash

We have to remember that failure is a part of our lives. If we don’t fail, we will never learn from our mistakes. I always remind myself that I put the best effort I could into my work and I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. Failure leads us to the right pathway to our dreams. If we have a negative mindset towards failure, we will never build the courage and motivation to become better. If you’re reading this right now and you’ve recently gotten a bad mark, don’t worry. That bad grade does not determine your future. I know it’s hard to comprehend, especially when school is so essential to our lives, but failing does not prove your capability of succeeding in life. Whenever your down about a bad grade, find your motivation to do better.


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