Why Failure is My Friend

 

By: Jessica Martin, SDSU Chapter Member

“Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.”
-Oprah

We all have things that make us nervous, things that feel like they are so far out of our comfort zone- like a big presentation, a final exam, a new job- but… we talk in front of other people every day, we know we can master the material on that test, and once we settle into that new job it we know it’ll flow like clockwork. It isn’t the surface level elements that really scare us, because we typically feel fully confident in our abilities on a smaller scale; what truly scares us is the possibility of failure.

So, why is failure so intimidating? In this modern world, everyone around us puts up a smokescreen around themselves. All we see of other people is their perfect, sunshine-y life filled with success, friends and laughter. We look around lecture halls and see people who seem to have it all together, we see social media posts and automatically assume that everyone has it figured out and knows all the answers. We feel extra pressure to be successful ourselves because failure seems to be out of the picture for everyone else. But, what we have to remember is that people don’t post the bad parts. They don’t talk about when they fail a test, when they have a nervous breakdown before a presentation, or when they have a fight with a friend.

Although failures are not always publicly shared in our society, it is important to remember that there is nothing wrong with failure. Failure does not define you, it does not mean that you are not a strong, successful individual. In fact, I would argue that failure is healthy and necessary for everyone. When we make mistakes, we learn. When it feels like the world is falling down around us, we can look back and see what we could have done differently. Failure, although it is uncomfortable, can make us the best versions our ourselves- if we have the humility and patience to learn from it.

We need to learn to embrace our failures; to grow from them rather than be ashamed of them. It is foolish to hope that you will enter new opportunities, professions, or hobbies seamlessly. A steep learning curve, although riddled with failures, paves the path to greatness. Because of this, we must fail in order to learn how to succeed.

©2018 by Women in Science Society, Inc.

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