Total Failure

Why Defeat Isn't Always a Bad Thing


Maxie Eller, Writer

Heart pounding, legs pumping, you can feel your lungs starting to explode as you sprint towards the finish line. One hundred meters to go and your body is counting down every last second until you can rest and rehydrate. Your vision starts to blur from the sweat and the heat. Only fifty meters. Forty meters. Thirty meters left. Then, you trip and fall flat on your face. The crowd goes silent for a long moment as they watch you lay there on the track, only meters away from the finish line and yet too far for the victory. All of that hard work for nothing, right? 


Failure hurts. It may not cause any physical pain, but not meeting expectations or living up to our standards can cause a lot of emotional drama. It’s humiliating to mess up in front of everyone, especially people who you look up to or are important to you. The problem is that failure is hard to accept and once we do fail, we don’t know what to do about it. We get so worked up about something, fail at it, and then our world collapses. We don’t realize that failure is okay.


Contrary to popular belief, the world is not going to end if you get a bad grade on a test or you miss the winning shot at your basketball game. You will still be alive at the end and there will still be a tomorrow.  Sure, you’ll feel disappointed and probably distraught for a few days. It might take a while, but you will move on and get past it. Life does not revolve around only one thing or one moment. 


People claim that everyone will remember your mistakes and failures, so you can never live them down or grow from them. With most mistakes, very few if any people will remember that you messed up. Everyone is so focused on themselves that no one has the time to analyze everything that you do or say. Some people can’t even remember what they had for breakfast, let alone that you tripped and fell last week on your way to third period. You may feel like you failed, but you really didn’t. It’s good to stop judging yourself too harshly. What may seem like a failure on your part may actually be just fine in the eyes of everyone else. 


Failures build us up. We learn from our mistakes. It’s like writing. The first draft is awful. It’s just a bunch of words haphazardly arranged on the page in the hopes that someone can make something out of it. It’s embarrassing and honestly, you feel that no one should ever read it. Then, you go back in and edit it. It’s slow and agonizing to piece together the words and ideas all over again, but the process works. In the end, you have a solid final draft. Sure, it has some minor problems, and yes, there are some grammar mistakes, but it’s something to be proud of. After fine-tuning it a little more, you have a completed story. It’s polished, well-written, and makes sense. Failure is part of the learning process. 


Some people say that once you fail, you just need to stop trying. They claim that you fail for a reason and that some things just aren’t ever going to work out. That’s not true. Even if you mess up, that doesn’t mean that you stop trying. You keep going and persevering. You try to make today better than yesterday. Failure is only permanent when you stop trying. You may not win the race, but at the end of the day, the race is more than just the finish line. 


While failure may seem to be bad and something that should stop us from moving forward with life, it’s actually a great experience and something that we shouldn’t be afraid of. It’s okay to fail. Success in life only comes from accepting our failures and learning from them.