Being a student means that you are generally afraid of “failure”. The word is associated with a giant “F” on papers, a seemingly unrecoverable offense. Coaches tell athletes to scare away failure with your mind: “don’t say you can’t and chances are you won’t fail... mind over matter”. While your may be able to trick yourself from thinking you can do anything and everything, chances are, there will be a time in your life where things don’t go in your favor.
Failure is inevitable
As a softball player, we are taught that you will fail... 70% of the time you will fail. For those of you that don’t believe me, the best baseball players in the world are only expected to have a .300 batting average. Meaning that they will get a hit 3 out of every 10 at bats. The other 70 % of their at bats, they are experiencing some sort of failure. It is part of the game.
However, I want to step away from the sports references and just talk about why failure is not the end of the world, why embracing those moments can actually be your biggest promoter.
Failure opens up the world to opportunity.
1. Failure creates this very unique opportunity for self growth.
I have heard my parents say they want me to learn from the things they did wrong. Maybe you have heard this too, but it is probably not often that you were told its okay to make mistakes. You were probably not told that making your own mistakes will also help you grow. The way in which you choose to respond to your own failure is more likely to inspire change than trying to response to events that you did not experience (like those your parents always talk about). Learning from other people is a great tool, but trying to strive for perfection based on them is simply setting yourself up for a more painful encounter with failure.
2. Failure also offers opportunities to see new paths.
The famous phrase “when I grow up, I want to be a...” doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have it right the first time. Sometimes it takes completely screwing up on that first path to recognized that it isn’t the right road for you. There is nothing wrong with seeking out the right path. College is a great place to figure out what you truly enjoy doing. Thus, failure is the path to success.
3. Failure is an opportunity to evaluate your strengths and make them even stronger.
Just because you do not succeed in an area that you may feel is a strong suit, doesn’t mean it isn’t one of your strengths. Maybe reevaluating and taking a step back will allow you to find the best way for you to implement your strengths. When you get knocked down, are you going to sit on the ground and lose sight of who you are, or are you going to get up and make yourself stronger? This is the option failure gives you.
Having a ‘no fear’ mentality towards failure allows us to benefit from whatever action-outcome combination may arise. It isn’t about seeking out failure but rather accepting challenges that are no guarantee to go in your favor. It is about learning from the mistakes that led to a failing outcome and about finding your own strength, whatever that may be and however that may be used. Embrace new paths and open your mind to all the possibilities that stand before you.