The Positive Side of Failure


Max Tapper

Over the past few years, I have struggled with managing my anxiety over school. My anxiety capitally stemmed from me being afraid of receiving a failing grade. For example, if I had an important test coming up, I would find myself fretting over possibly forgetting the material and getting a poor score. Furthermore, I would stress out about what would happen if I did fail an assignment. How badly would it hurt my grade? How would my teachers react? Would I still pass for the marking period? However, thanks to my family and friends, I have come to realize that in life, failure is inevitable. In fact, sometimes you have to fail in order to become a better version of yourself. I am Max Tapper, and I am here to explain to you, my fellow students, how failure can and will improve you as an individual. 


Failure Helps To Build One’s Character

It takes a certain kind of person to challenge themselves and get out of their comfort zone. A majority of people are afraid to do this, as they are already accustomed to their current situations. However, even when someone makes the time and effort for a challenge, they have an ineluctable chance of failure to some extent. If a person does fail, they might ask themselves, ‘‘What did I do wrong?’’. A person asking themselves this after experiencing failure is a good sign. Through trying to indicate the mistakes that they made, a person shows that they care about what they are doing. If a person knows what mistakes they made, they will likely try to avoid making those same mistakes in the future. However, not everyone is willing to ask about or even admit to their mistakes. People who are not  aware of their mistakes will not learn from them if they do not seek guidance. To quote my SAT tutor Colton Gene, ‘‘The worst thing you can do is not open your mouth and ask a question.”


Failure Lets You Develop Resilience When Performing Under Pressure

I do not think I know anyone who likes to fail. In fact, failure tends to be devastating for some people. Understandably, failure likely upsets you, and you might not even want to admit to what you did wrong. However, it is critical to be able to admit your mistakes. It is also just as important to not let the mistakes you make define you as a person. Mistakes discourage some people, as they may have the mindset to do things correctly under all circumstances. Whilst this is an active mindset, it is not the most realistic. Everyone is bound to make mistakes, no matter how much we try to deny it. However, from my experience, I have learned that while it is important to learn from mistakes, it is not wise to dwell on them. Letting mistakes cause you stress can and will discourage you from achieving your goals. Mistakes should not be viewed as a cause for outrage, but rather as learning opportunities to help you strive when you are working in a high-stakes environment. 


Failure Lets You Develop Compassion For Other People

Imagine you were to take a math test that you tried your absolute hardest to prepare for. The test proves to be much more difficult than you anticipated, and you are not happy to find out that you scored a 64. However, you ask another student how they scored on the test, and they dejectedly inform you of their score of a 58. You notice that you feel a little bit better about your score, and you also feel empathy for the student who happened to score lower than you. It is hard to laugh at someone who fails if they are in a similar situation as you. If you feel sympathy for someone who fails, you will possibly feel the urge to try and help them. You may want to provide reassurance for the person who has failed, and you may also want to provide guidance on how the person can learn from their mistakes. Assisting those who have failed is an excellent skill to exercise, but it is important to take care in how you provide suggestions to fix mistakes. Make sure you give advice to those who have failed in a calm, non judgemental, and constructive manner. Do not expect those who have failed to apply your advice right away, and even if they never do, you should still be satisfied as you have done the right thing. One can try and fail but one should never fail to try. 


Failure Helps You Develop Creativity

Back at Conover Road Primary School, the art room had a copy of Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg. This book focused on how in the context of creating artwork, students should never fear mistakes. Saltzberg proposed that in reality, every tear, stain, and smudge was an invitation to a world of imaginative thinking. After all of these years, I still believe that every ‘‘Oops!’’ can indeed be beautiful if one changes their perspective on the mistakes that we make. In fact, mistakes have led to the invention of some of the most useful inventions to society. John Alexander Hopps, who was an electrical engineer from Canada, would research hypothermia. Hopps would utilize radio frequency heating in hopes of finding a cure for inadequate body temperature. Whilst conducting tests, Hopps discovered that he could stimulate non-beating hearts through an artificial means. Hopps’ discovery would lead to the development of the first successful pacemaker by 1960. What one should take from Hopps’ story is that the mistakes you make can actually prove very beneficial to the world around you. If anything, making a mistake is always proof that you are trying to make the world a better place. 


Failure Makes You A More Interesting Individual

Imagine a world where people never made mistakes. You might picture a society in which things are done efficiently and everyone is easy to work with. As desirable this vision is, this is clearly not how the real world works. People tend to become frustrated by the inconvenient aspects of the society that we live in. People are especially bothered when the inconvenient aspects of their lives cause them to fail. However, what people must understand is that failure, as much as society frowns upon it, shows one’s flaws and proves that you are capable of learning. It is completely okay to have flaws. In fact, our flaws are what makes us unique from other individuals. My mother would always tell me that if everyone and everything were perfect, it would be a very boring world to live in. I have employed what my mother has taught me in order to define failure as a guide to success in the journey of life.