Failure is an Option
“If you don’t turn in your homework, you will fail this class.”
“If you don’t pass this test, you will fail and be held back.”
“If you don’t go to school, you won’t get a good job.”
Early on we are taught that failure is not an option. Failure means that you are unintelligent, weak, and will never succeed at life.
However, without failure, there is no success.
It sucks to fail. I know that. I’ve failed a lot, and big, and I know the feeling. But this is a part of life and ultimately a part of success.
You learn from mistakes and from your failures. It could just be you learn not to put a fork in an electrical socket. It could be that you learn more about yourself as a person. The lessons range in scale, but each one of them is necessary.
So why is it that when you are school failure is seen as such a bad thing?
Because in the industrialized method of schooling, you are taught to do tasks as quickly and efficiently as possible. There is not any room for error on an assembly line because it costs time and money.
The key to failing is to learn quickly from your mistakes. You have to be quick on your feet and reassess the situation so that you can change your course of action and succeed.
I was working on a project in college and we had to put together a very short commercial over sex trafficking. Our group went into the project with an idea and went out a filmed a whole bunch of footage that we would then apply to interviews that were provided for us. When we sat down to edit everything together, it was a disaster. Nothing was working.
It felt forced and it was just not working. And it was due the next day. I went to my professor and asked if we could have an extension because it was not working. She told me no. It was due tomorrow, no questions asked. I was so stressed I started crying. I didn’t want to turn in the project late. I felt like I was a failure because I couldn’t put together a 30 second video.
So what did I do? I pulled myself together, and we started over. We went back to the beginning, clean slate, and two hours later, the video was complete. And it was pretty dang good.
This failure was necessary because it taught us a lesson. Our professor intentionally gave us a small time-frame to complete the project. We learned to watch all of the footage we were given before coming up with a concept. Because that is what happened. We expected certain things to be in the interview footage and it wasn’t. So we spent a lot of time filming things that didn’t work when we could have already been done with the commercial.
It was stressful as hell. The experience sucked, but it was needed.
School needs to change how they convey. It puts a lot of pressure on a kid when they feel like the only way they will succeed is to have perfect grades, be picked first when in PE, and never fail. This has got to change, but life is full of failures. It’s how we learn.
So we need to be taught how to pick ourself up quickly when we do fail.
Without failure, there is no success.