With midterms (mostly) over, and finals looming over the horizon, I thought it would be an appropriate time to address a topic that , as a science major, is very familiar ro me: failure.
In Drama 103, with the always entertaining and immeasureably talented Dan Klein, we learned to embrace failure; failing on stage is the first step to good improvisation. fIntro to Improvisation has taught us to embrace failure. WIthout failure, there is no chance to be natural, to be human. And embracing failure, not ft fearing it, is the first step to succeding, not only in improv, but in life.
As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I’ve been writing this post without Spell Check, editing, or even backspacing. Some may call it bad writing, or lazy proofreading, but I call it proving a poitn. And waht a difficult point it is to prove. For example, I am cringing at the number of times I used the word failure in the second paragraph (“Ever heard of a pronoun, idiot?”). It also occurred to me, after I re-read it the first time, that I used the phrase “the first step” twice in the span of four sentences. A thesaurus, I am not.
But these failures are a part of the history of this post. THey happened. I cannot (read: will not, for the sake of the point of this article) change them. What I can do, however, is accept them and learn from them.
My point is that we live in a society where success is glamorized, and failure is villified or ridiculed. My whole life, I’ve been told that intelligence is the surest pathway to success. There is merit to this statement, but I think it omits a very important part of the road to success: the various detours in the form of failures. How much sweeter success is after overcoming a failure; it’s the reason winning Candy Land is that much better after you drew the Plumpy card, and the reason I like watching the Miami Heat. Failure in an integral part of success, and to ignore it is to undermine the hard-fought struggles that success entails. Remind me to show this to my mom after finals.
An interesting phenomenon that arose during the course of this poorly-thought-out “post-ial” experiment: it’s so incredibly hard not to hit the “backspace” button, as if covering up our mistakes has been so deeply engrined in our psyches that it is an amlost natural reaction. Who hasn’t hidden a bad test score or lied about getting into an elite university ? Who hasn’t tried to right a wrong? Who hasn’t used White-Out? Failure is something we all experience, whether it be misspelling a word or tanking a Chem131 final (knock on wood).
So go out and fail. Don’t do it on purpose, but if it so happens that you don’t succeed, accept it for what it is, learn from it, and move on. And if you find yourself reaching for that backspace button, hiold off just a lottle bit, and see what happens.