Where Would I Be Without Failure

failure gatesI shared the other day that I have been writing sporadically, but not posting them on the blog. Well here is a piece that I came across when re-reading some notes. I am on the admission committee for my school, and jotted this small note to myself after interviewing a student who impressed me with his confidence to take risks, something that I struggle with doing. While at camp, he decided to go on a three day rock climbing excursion with some boys that he did not know. He then shared that he was afraid of heights, and knew that he would have to trust these unfamiliar boys with his safety. Wait, what?! As a result of the trip, he is now an avid rock climber, going to different rock climbing gyms throughout the city. Additionally, he mentioned that because of the experience, facing his fears and trusting others even though failure was a strong possibility, he knows that he can overcome other obstacles, simply because he did it. He looked his fear in the eye and won. In my heart, I know that even if he lost somehow, he would have still won.

He’s 14. I’m 29.

He taught me in that moment.

I’m 29. He’s 14.

I learned from him in that moment.

When I left the interview, I hurriedly scribbled in my notepad:

I wish I failed more often as a child so that I would not be as anxious as an adult. Confidence is born out of failure. When you fail, you realize that you are still alive. As a result, you become less anxious because you’ve survived before and will survive again. Too often adults try to protect students and kids from failing. In doing so, they actually damage them in a way that becomes much more difficult to repair as adults.

Sidenote: I recently started a t-shirt business, Ambitious Addicts, with my friend and our motto for the company is: Do trust failures.


2 thoughts on “Where Would I Be Without Failure

  1. How very true. This is a very thoughtful and interesting post. I’m the same as you, and have been too worried about failure to take any risks for a long time. Apart from just over a year ago, when I left my job, and decided to pursue my dream of writing for a living. I’m now building my own freelance copywriting business and have just had a niche book published. It was a risk, but I’m so glad I took it.

    I’ve always believed that successful people are so because they keep trying, even when all they’re met with is failure. So I know that if I’m not happy to fail, I’m never going to succeed.

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