If at first you don’t succeed….

Winston Churchill once said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” However, the courage to continue after failure can be slim and sought after. Failing after a first attempt can often be encouraging; an indication of further improvement. But after the fourth, fourteenth or fortieth attempt, the courage to continue dwindles.

For younger students, failure can often seem like the enemy. Unfortunately, society tells us it’s a bad thing; that it’s something to be feared. The thought of failure in raising a hand limits you from achieving your full potential, both as a student and as a being. You may not get the answer right, you may not understand the concept, but at least you tried right?

Failure isn’t something that should be feared, in fact, it should be celebrated. Whilst it may not be a success at the time, the moment of failure can propel you further towards it. The tiny, incoherent voices of failure that whisper doubtful ideas will seem inadmissible by the time success comes around. Spend your time refocusing on the things that will lead you to success rather than on the things that brought you to failure.

Adjust your perspective. Like I said, thinking about the details or errors that resulted in failure will only bring you further away from success. It’s okay to be upset for a while; it will instil a sense of motivation in you. This motivation will be bigger than what would have been had you have succeeded, but remember to throw away the tissues once it arrives.

There is a reason for failure. Whether or not you can see it at the time, the reason you failed that maths exam or didn’t get the mark you wanted for your English presentation is hidden in your impending success. A way around this you may ask? Think of failure as a key step in the process of achieving success. If you had never failed, how would you know that you had succeeded? And if you had never failed, how would you know what failure is? Or even what to do with it?

Failing does not mean you are a failure, it just means that you failed. Analyse how you got there, was it a lack of effort? A misguided judgement? Or maybe an error in comprehending the key ideas? No matter the reason, find the courage to continue. Your world isn’t ending, you just failed.