Failing is the First Step to Success

When faced with the frightening realization of failure, most people either loose motivation to continue pursuing what they had failed in or become more motivated to taste the success they had worked so hard for. Some people have experienced failure more than others, and I strongly believe those who do fail will have a better sense of reality than those who succeed on the first try.

Even though everyone has failed at least once, it’s difficult to talk about since pride and ego prevent the person from admitting to failure. The endless worries of what others will think when they discover the failure may drive some people to do whatever it takes to succeed including dangerous acts like cheating.

“When it comes to failing, our egos are our own worst enemies. As soon as things start going wrong, our defense mechanisms kick in, tempting us to do what we can to save face” stated Tim Harford in an email sent to Sarah Rapp, who was interviewing him about his book Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure. (Read the whole article here:

Whether it’s scoring exceptionally high on the SAT the first try, earning an A on a test without studying, or misinterpreting someone’s feelings, causing conflict; success on the first try may limit a person’s ability to grow. If there isn’t a preventing factor that holds the person back from success, then they will always assume they are invincible and will not feel the need to work towards anything.

Veronique Nedeau (’16) would much rather deal with failing multiple times at something and mastering it rather than succeeding every difficult task on the first try. She entered an Engineering Bridge Competition her freshman year and each time she put a new piece to her bridge, it broke. She kept persevering and when the day of the competition arrived, the whole bridge fell apart. Even though it was humiliating, she is going to attend the competition again this year in hopes that her pervious failures can lead to her bridge being stable throughout the whole competition.

Of course talent is always considered when it comes to success. It’s not the person’s fault if they are just naturally good at something or if their intellect allows them to achieve above and beyond their classmates. But nobody’s perfect.

However perfection can be reached to a certain extent, but the only way that it can be reached is if many failures come into play and lessons are learned from them.

Adrianna Culotta (’15) strived to be perfect. She felt like if she wasn’t, then she would be letting others down.

“I had this envision that I had to be perfect all of the time and if I wasn’t perfect or people didn’t think that I was perfect then I would become a huge problem” she said.

Adrianna started a club junior year that would bring motivational speakers to the school. However, the club failed since barely any student attended the meetings. When she was able to contact a speaker to present during enrichment one day, most of the people who attended made nasty comments and weren’t taking it seriously.

“I shouldn’t have taken on the responsibility since I was unorganized” she said.

Jordan Davis (’15) felt like she failed her whole sophomore year. She took on too many AP courses, which raised her level of stress and anxiety so high that she became ill. Her grades were at an all time low and it was difficult for her to recover. Eventually, she learned her limits when it came to school and is now currently achieving high grades as of yet.

Failing can be a time where self-reflection can be degrading and self-esteem plummets. Despite the automatic response, people should take the failure as an opportunity to learn and a chance to thrive in the future.

“You don’t have to live in the past.” Jordan said. “Everyday is a chance to start over again.”