Our grade school soccer coaches insisted we’d never go anywhere in life without failing. In middle school, our moms patted us on the back and said, “It happens to the best of us.” Our high school valedictorian [as much as we didn’t believe him] preached from the pulpit that failing is key to success. Our college professors reassured us it’s simply the precursor to success.
And yet, every time we fail it seems to hurt more. I try to remember these markers when failure hits, but in that moment when you’re looking at a big, wompin’ “F”, a rejection letter, or an “I’m sorry we went with someone else” email, no basketball coach or notable speech seems to ease the pain.
Just like (mostly) every human walking the earth, I’ve had my decent share of failure. I’ve failed tests, a class, didn’t make sports teams in elementary school (the ultimate ego-crusher to an 11-year-old), been denied internships and jobs and admission into my dream college.
I’m not here to tell you that failure shouldn’t sting when it strikes, because it inevitably will every time. What I am here to tell you is with every failure comes an opportunity.
The next time you’re staring at something in utter disbelief, remember:
An opportunity for growth is present. If we were never presented with the opportunities to grow, we would remain stagnant. We would always be good instead of being great.
It’s normal to fail. It is a part of being human, and it is a part of learning. Read the Michael Jordan success stories. Jordan didn’t make how many basketball teams as a kid? How many times was J.K. Rowling denied publishing?
This story can be used as a tool later. When a friend, coworker, or family member is experiencing difficulty coping with failure, you can use your experiences to encourage them, give them hope, and build them up in a way that will pump them up to succeed.