This I Believe

Brendan - Altamont, New York
Entered on June 8, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: sports, work

I believe that failure is just success in disguise. I have never really been all that good at many things. In fact, I seem to be good at very little other than what my passion for medieval history dictates. But I have learned many times through what seems to be extreme failure exactly how to succeed.

When I first went into baseball, I was a late starter and not very experienced in any aspect of the game, unlike the “trained ninjas” I was playing alongside. I was also petrified of disappointing my team. This went on for two years. I nearly gave up, seeing as I was so atrocious at even the most basic of baseball skills. I became very unpopular amongst my pre-teen baseball peers, who saw me as a speed bump on their road to victory. Over the summer, though, I used my old ways of playing as a framework for what to steer away from. The pressures and the failures drove me to work until success came knocking. I was MVP of my team a year after I was the worst player on the team.

Another example of where failure led to ultimate success for me is when I took tae kwon do. A fairly difficult art for a child born without any heed to weight or athleticism, I was not a natural by any means. It took many years to finally achieve even my most basic black belt. The whole experience was a roller coaster ride. Following inter school movement, I was a bit scared of pursuing or taking on anything, nut with the support of my family, I managed to pull myself together and give it a try. Competition after competition, and defeat after defeat left me down in the dumps, but by using how I felt then, I then got enough of a deterrent to work hard, and eventually earned not only the black belt I so sought, but the respect of my fellow martial artists.

People always fear failure, seeing as it brings us obvious feelings of dismay and utter disappointment. Perhaps instead, we can see the value of failure as a tool to propel ourselves past the rough spots in our lives and ambitions with the knowledge we gain in its shadow.