This I Believe

Anne - Columbus, Ohio
Entered on June 20, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: respect, setbacks

I believe in respecting failure, treating true and well-earned failures with as much or more respect as one treats the winners.

I have recently come to this conclusion through my own well-earned disappointments. The college admissions process is a question waiting to be answered in tones of negation and rejection. It quivers with the violence of future impossibilities, makes you shake as it asks you to dream big and improve their standings by rejecting you and 78 percent of the other highly qualified candidates. It’s hard luck and a toss of a coin. You shouldn’t really feel bad about rejection, but how can’t you?

So that’s when I begin to respect failure – not the failure that involves not having done the work, not having been qualified, not having shown up, not having the skills or the consciousness of mind to succeed. I’m talking about the sort of failure that results even though you did everything and said everything and felt everything and hoped to God it was right. Did everything but failed. Did everything but never got recognized for that everything. Did everything and feel shame because you tried, because suddenly you just aren’t good enough. The best part of you failed and maybe you should never try again.

Winners and losers are separated by a thin wall, flimsy and pale like a sheet of paper and as easily destroyed. The losers can hear, but more importantly feel, the beat of the music from the other side of the wall, can feel it and hate it for its elusivity, for being thrust into them but for not being their own. More than I respect those who are awarded, those who are accepted, those who stand in spotlights for flashes and blinks, those whose hands gets shaken, those who never seem shaken, I respect those who work and fail. I believe in trying, in getting up every morning and looking at your life rather than a trophy case. I believe in failing without giving away yourself. Trying without expecting success, only gracefully accepting it should it come. I believe in failing because it is the essence of living fully and well.