Why I’m a Fan of Failing
Why are you afraid of failing?
It’s an honest-to-goodness question. Why are you so afraid of failing? Is there a specific reason? I was once extremely afraid to fail, too. Although everyone’s standard of failure is different, a failure is a failure no matter how big or small. Why was I so afraid of it? I realized that it was because failure for me was the universe’s way of telling me that I wasn’t good enough. However, once I stopped fearing failure, I became more successful and started loving myself even more.
I am a fan of failure because without it I would not be who I am today. For every small little failure I’ve had in my life, I have overcome it and been rewarded with a success, love, and support.
At twelve years old, I tried out for a dance studio. I didn’t make the team that I wanted. Looking back as an adult, I wouldn’t have been the right fit for the team, but at the time, I was heartbroken. I was a failure, a disgrace, not good enough for anything—that’s what I thought. I cried to my mom for what felt like hours before she looked me in the eye and told me, “Prove them wrong.”
That summer I dedicated my life to dance; I took intensives, privates, and stretch classes. That summer I realized I wasn’t a failure. It shaped my work ethic as a dancer and the style I grew to develop throughout my later years of dance. This moment in my life during which I failed to accomplish my task pushed me to new limits. Out of my failure came success.
At seventeen, I took an English class. I was afraid to fail. My teacher wanted me to do something I wasn’t comfortable with: She wanted me to talk about my feelings. The first two months of journaling on The Book of Negroes consisted of good grammar, proper punctuation, and filtered thoughts. I wrote what I thought I was supposed to write. However, it wasn’t reflective of my true feelings—how the book was really affecting me. I only got a C+ on my first set of journal entries. I was devastated. It was the lowest mark I had ever received. I went to my teacher and I asked her what I could do. She told me to write more about how I felt reading the book.
Once I opened up, I started writing more and more. I wrote things that didn’t necessarily make sense at first, but they were concepts and theories that I could develop. I was thinking critically by reflecting on my life, the book, and society. I was writing a beautiful mess. I was learning a lot about myself and I was terrified. I got an A.
At nineteen, I heard that Glendon was looking for new eAmbassadors. I wanted to do it; I was excited. I told my friends that I was thinking about it. Almost everyone that I told said to go for it. One person, however, said something along the lines of, “you’ll never get it.” I was hurt and felt like a failure. There was obviously a reason this person didn’t think I had what it takes.
It took only one friend to look me in the eye and say a simple sentence: “I think you have what it takes.” From that moment, it clicked. I didn’t care that the other person didn’t think I could do it; I had to try. I had so many people supporting me and I wasn’t going to let one person tell me I was a failure before I even tried.
Between the support of my close friends and the help of a veteran eAmbassador, I became confident. Trying my best and not being accepted didn’t make me a failure; I merely failed on that particular attempt. It was failing, but not failure. I would, and will, still have opportunities to retry things. But to be a failure is to be defeated. Failing no longer scared me.
I am twenty-one, and even though I still don’t like the idea of failing, I know that often it is the force of failure that makes you push harder, fight stronger, and dig deeper. Of course I’m still afraid to be a failure, but I’m not afraid of failing. The only way I can be a failure is if I don’t even try. Failing has taught me many lessons, but most importantly, it taught me that I shouldn’t be afraid of it. In essence, failing taught me that I am not a failure.
If there is anything you should take away from the text, it’s this: Failing isn’t fun, but it is sometimes necessary to help us grow. That is why I’m a fan of failing.