The Good That Comes With Failure

By: Daniel Sheehan

Imagine that there are two sports teams. Team one has been practicing for months before the season started. They have been working day in and day out to be the best. Team two just met for the first time that day.  The teams meet to play their first game, and team one beats team two just as expected. At the end of the game, the refs call it a tie.
This is what life would be like if failure was taken out of society. Failure is not something that people should try to get rid of,  it should be used to drive people to work hard and to make success something people have to work for.
As a student, I have a healthy fear of failure which drives me to work hard. If I were not afraid of failing, I would not study for tests and pay attention in class. This would make my grades drop significantly and would affect my future.
Being an athlete, I know that not everybody wins which means some people are going to fail. Most games are not a tie, and if nobody loses then that also means nobody wins. Success and failure have a similar type of relationship. If nobody fails, then everybody succeeds. However, if everybody succeeds than success becomes average and if everybody is average than who is really successful?
Vince Lombardi, who is considered by many to be one of the greatest football coaches of all time, once said, “Dictionary is the only place that success comes before work.” If we took failure out of society even those who did not work for it would be successful which is not right.
Mary Sherry gives her personal story with failure in her article “In Praise of the F Word”. She tells about her son who was a senior in high school and was slacking off in class. After the teacher threatened to fail him, he worked much harder and ended up earning an A in the semester (Sherry 553). This story is a textbook example of how failure can motivate and bring out the best in people.
Failure is notorious for being embarrassing and discouraging. Failure can lead to people making the assumption that they are not smart enough or talented enough to do something. This causes people to quit when they fail after trying something.
The embarrassment of failure however can be used to encourage and not discourage. Basketball player Michael Jordan was cut from the varsity basketball team at his high school as a sophomore. This failure did not discourage him, instead he used it to drive him to become the best that he could be.
He later was drafted into the NBA (National Basketball Association) and is arguably the greatest basketball player of all time. His average points per game was 30.1 and he won 6 NBA Championships. This is an example of how someone can use failure to motivate them and not to discourage them.
Failure is a tool that can be used to motivate and add meaning to success. As Michael Jordan stated, “I’ve failed over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.”

Advertisements