Failure is not the end

W. Joseph - Roanoke, Virginia
Entered on March 5, 2009
Age Group: 65+
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

Failure is not the end!

I believe that failure is not the end but the beginning of a new opportunity to succeed. When I failed and dropped out of high school, I felt as low as I could possibly get, emotionally. I had very few choices, yet, I had a life to live and I knew not where to turn. I joined the military. I knew in my heart that I could not fail at this enterprise, for if I did, I would never succeed at anything, ever. The failure which I experienced provided the power and motivation I needed to be a success in the Army. Failure caused me to set attainable goals which led to small measures of accomplishments, and fueled a desire to be something or someone which I was not. The atonement of failure in high school by becoming a well trained unique soldier opened the door for many more adventurous opportunities for the fulfillment of an extolled life. Thus failure was not the end, but the beginning of new successes and the formation of a new excited person, stimulated by the encouragement of trusted friends and influenced by the guidance of knowledgeable leaders. I developed a hunger for success, seeking out new challenges and pushing myself to more and greater goals.

I developed a passion to be the best and put forth my best effort in everything I did to transcend the expectation of quality performance. My dream was to soar above the clouds, to film military war planes gliding through the sky in a seemingly effortless fashion. Setting realistic goals, and being willing to perform the tasks whenever and wherever necessary, helped me earn the qualifications and reputation for excellence, which led to the fruition of my vision. It was the power of failure that fueled my ambition and created a thirst for learning in my ceaseless quest to fulfill my desire to achieve.

My fifteen year old granddaughter is an aspiring writer. She has been given the task to supply articles for her church newsletter. Being proud of her work, she sent her first article to me for my perusal and critique. As I read her paper, I was puzzled and confused about the gist of her message. I offered constructive comments and suggested she develop a premise by making a statement, then supporting her statement with facts. She understood my meaning and followed my suggestion. The following day she was full of joy and excitement when she sent the improved version of her work. “This is a thousand times better” she said. “The meaning of my message is so much clearer and professionally defined”! “Thanks Papa”!

If we should succeed at every first attempt and never experience failure, we would soon develop a false sense of confidence and become complacent in our work. Failure is a teacher of expedience whence we learn, gain experience, and develop efficiency. I believe failure is never the end and that it leads to success; it is the prelude to wisdom.