How many times have we been told that we must succeed? That we must set a goal and accomplish it at all costs, and if we don’t all chances of happiness are lost? Words like lose and defeat are often accompanied with a negative connotation; however, my question is why?
As far as I know, failure almost always precedes most successes. Abraham Lincoln was a failed senator. Lucille Ball a failed actress. Michael Jordan a failed basketball player. We have all heard these names, and their stories. So why then, when we fail at something, do we send up the white flag? Others were able to persist and overcome, so why cant we? Were they better people? No, they were just motivated.
When one door closes another one opens. This saying is especially relevant when talking about successes and failures. You could say that a door closed on Michael Jordan when he failed to get a spot on his middle school team, but another one opened somewhere because he is now one of the most renown names in the NBA. The problem most people have is that all of the doors appear to be closed. Well, here is a secret- they are all closed. You have to take the initiative to check and see which ones are unlocked. Once you find one, you can walk right in. Want another secret? You can even get through locked doors. Just because you have temporarily lost the key, doesn’t mean that you are forever shut out. Michael Jordan was “locked out” of basketball. His “key” was to practice, and that he did.
Failure doesn’t have to be bad. If you stay focused then you will succeed, even if it wasn’t how you planned. I had dreamed forever about going to the Air Force Academy. Everything that I have done since the eight grade has been to accomplish that goal. If you were to ask me in my sophomore year what I would do if I didn’t get in, I would have told you that death was better than failing. Now I am a senior, and I have failed at getting into the Academy; however, much to my surprise, I was ok with that. You see, I already had a key. I had done the hard work for college, it just wasn’t unlocking the door I wanted. So I took my key to other doors, eventually finding a four-year, full-tuition Army ROTC scholarship.
Now, looking back at all of my successes and failures, I find myself just as pleased with the losses as I am with the wins. If I hadn’t failed, I may have never been motivated enough to truly succeed. In a strange way, failure can be one of the best motivators. All who have reached true success have also met absolute failure. Failure is not an end to happiness, but rather a way to ensure that we end up where we need to be.