This I Believe

Michelle - Winfield, Illinois
Entered on December 16, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: setbacks

A Positive Side to Failing

I believe that because I fail, I succeed. Failing always has a negative connotation associated with it. In my life, I try to make failing positive.

A college essay question asked me to describe a recent failure. This question led me to think about multiple things that I have failed at in life. I know I am not perfect, which allows me to learn from these failures. I began pondering the question…

I thought about the test that I just failed in physics. I rarely fail tests because, even as a senior, I work hard in school. I was very frustrated when I saw the 52% on my scantron. My mind was racing. I’m one of the students that whispers after class, “Oh my gosh, I completely failed that test!” but then ends up with a low B. This was not the case; I literally failed the test. The next day I came into class determined. I began working harder on my homework, labs and eventually the next test. Because I failed that physics test, I became a better student.

I thought about a recent basketball game. The game was tied with 2.3 seconds left. I was at the line shooting a free throw. I took three small dribbles, directed my gaze toward the rim and shot the basketball. It hit the rim and spun out. My head went down; how did I miss the easiest shot to make? The game went into overtime and we ended up losing. Since that game, I’ve become very focused on my free throw shot. Now, everyday in practice I shoot at least 80%. Because I failed to make that winning shot, I succeeded in becoming a better basketball player.

I thought about the time when I carelessly ran into a car. I was not paying attention while backing up out of a driveway. I hit the car behind me. My heart stopped as I thought about how stupid I was. The damage on both cars was minimal, but to a sixteen year old with no job, it was very unfortunate. My entire savings account was emptied in order to pay for the repairs. I have become a much more cautious driver since that incident. I haven’t gotten into an accident or gotten a ticket since then, knock on wood. Because I failed to concentrate while driving, I became a better driver.

Failing has taught me to succeed and through analyzing those specific failures, I realized how important it is to fail. I definitely don’t try to set myself up for failure, but through years of failing and making mistakes, I’ve learned from them instead of letting them overwhelm me. Failing hasn’t made me who I am, it has shaped me. Through all my failures comes success. This, I believe.