What I’ve Learnt from Failing

The past few weeks have got me thinking that man, social  media can be deceiving. If you’re like me you tend to post a Facebook status or Instagram picture when something positive happens… but if something negative happens, if I’m not tweeting a motivational quote, than I’m not posting anything at all. Obviously most people are more private when it comes to sharing negative experiences, but at the same time I think it’s important to remember your failings – because they’re  a big contributor to the person you are today. So although I’ve experienced a great amount of success thus far, I didn’t get to where I am today without pushing through the negative. Here’s what I’ve learnt…

It’s Better to Have Tried and Failed, then to Have Never Tried at All: For those of you that have been keeping up with my posts, I’m sure it’s no surprise that this is one of my lessons learned. But in all honesty, I would much rather be able to say that I put my best foot forward, than sit around wondering what would or could have happened – it’s kind of like closure, I guess. For example, I struggled with my university French classes for the past 2 years of my undergrad career, and I remember all too well the night I called my mom to tell her I wanted to drop the class. In reality, I knew she was going to tell me to stick with it, I think I just needed to hear it from someone other than my subconscious. And although I finished the class with a fairly undesirable mark (the first and only C on my official transcript!), I’m glad I stuck it out. I’m not trying to say that good things always come from failing (really, what good could come from getting a C?). But the one thing I did gain from this experience is the ability to tell myself that I still managed to get through this difficult course without taking the easy way out (aka giving up and dropping it). I actually often find myself reflecting on this experience to help me get through other difficult tasks.

Everything Happens for a Reason: I think I take comfort in this lesson more than anything. I recently interviewed for a job that I didn’t end up getting, and I managed to smile through the whole rejection process by telling myself that there was a reason (other than the fact that I wasn’t as old as they’d wanted, and didn’t have as much availability as they’d liked) why I didn’t get it. I actually found a variety of ways to justify my reasoning (EX: I don’t think I’m ready to commit to a summer job quite yet, I really don’t have time to balance 5 courses and spend 20 hours a week in Toronto, etc.), and this is one of the least painful experiences to talk about. If you don’t believe in fate, then perhaps find another mantra to help you accept failings that are out of your control. But when you find the one that works for you, it’ll help you shine a light on seemingly negative experiences.

Failing is like Jet Fuel: Seriously though, nothing kicks my butt into gear like failing! For example, this term I received a 65 on an assignment (yes, this isn’t failing by mathematical standards, but by my standards it is), and even though I submitted it to get re-marked, I still ended up with that damn 65. However, getting this less than superb mark made me realize that I really didn’t take the assignment all that seriously (I assumed it was going to be easy!) and I didn’t follow the instructions as well as I could have. So as much as this mark negatively impacted my course grade, it made me want to study that much harder for my final exam. But not only did it give me the motivation to study up, it also reminded me that university isn’t supposed to be easy… and I should probably stop thinking that I know everything.

Perfectionism is Your Worst Enemy: For real though. The road to perfection is not a bumpy road… it just doesn’t exist. So as I’ve striven to create a picture perfect resume, transcript, and life… I’ve realized that this task is going to be my greatest demise because realistically, nobody is perfect. So now I’ve learned to just accept and celebrate my quirky little life and all the positives (as well as the negatives) that make it so original and most importantly, MINE. So the next time you find yourself comparing yourself to someone else, longing for their job, their marks, or whatever else it may be…. kill that thought. Use it as motivation to be the best person that YOU can be, because what’s the fun in trying to be a carbon copy of someone who appears to have a perfect-everything on paper, or social media? (Pro Tip: their life probably isn’t as perfect as it seems either)

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