Coping with failure

Image via Thinkstock
Image via Thinkstock

Failing is part of life

By Davie Wong, Sports Reporter

It’s that time of year. The festive season is over and the new year is just beginning. But some of us are still stuck in the past. A traumatic incident involving a less than successful test and letter grade has frozen the hearts and minds of these poor souls.

In my opinion, failing is a critical part to success. So many success stories have been built on the foundation of failure. A few examples include Michael Jordan, who was rejected from his high school basketball team; Steve Jobs, who was fired from the company he started; and Walt Disney, who was fired for “lacking imagination.”

These great people used their failures as stepping stones to their successes, and so should you. That slump you find yourself in is just a part of the longer road to success.

But the transition from failure to success is not an easy one. It takes mammoth amounts of hard work. The main reason people fail at transitioning is fatigue. They get tired, and lose sight of the goal, or simply burn themselves out before the finish line.

Understanding why you failed is the most important part of failing. The cliché “those who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it” applies perfectly here. If you don’t understand why you failed, and you do everything the exact same way, you are doomed to fail again. Think of it as a math equation. If you don’t change anything in the equation, the answer is never going to change.

Take a moment to look back at the semester and think about what you could have done differently. Maybe it was an extra day that could have been dedicated to studying, or maybe it was your studying methods. It could be a number of things, but figuring out and realizing what you could have done better is the first step in turning things around.

Once you realize what you want or need to change, take steps to make sure it happens. Maybe you want to find a different place to study or change the way you take notes. Ensure that the change sticks.

Now with the hard part over with, we can look at the brighter parts of failure. If you failed an important college course, fear not. Take it again; you may have failed the first time, but now you have a semester’s worth of understanding. What seemed difficult at the beginning of the course last time may be trivial the second time around now that you understand the big picture. You have an opportunity to take what you learned the first time and grow.

The most important part to remember about failing is that it is not the end of the road. A letter grade may determine your final score in a class, but definitely not your life. Every failed opportunity is a chance to learn, and every learning experience is a success. Turn your failures into success by learning from them.

An “F” means that you have failed to understand the course material, but it does not mean you are incapable of learning it. Take what you know and go at it again. Look back at the class, see what you need to change, change it, and try again armed with knowledge that you didn’t have before. Do not let a letter grade stop you from growing as an individual. Every success story has a failure story behind it. Let this be yours.