• Race to a Cure Authors

Failure in Success

I remember the first time that I failed a test in school. I was in Grade 10, and the test was on our chemistry unit. I recall how hard I had studied and how I even asked for extra help because I could not comprehend the majority of the material. I remember sitting at my desk and looking at the questions, completely bewildered. Question after question, I had no idea what the answers were. I was rapidly tapping the eraser end of my pencil onto my desk as I attempted to get past the first page of the test. When I’m writing a test, I never leave a question empty because there is always that chance that I get lucky and get the right answer or maybe even half a mark.

Image is courtesy of Unsplash

I completed that test expecting to, at least, pass. My teacher handed back my test in the iconic ‘you failed’ method. Do you know what I’m talking about? The teacher folds the paper to hide your mark from the other students and gives you a sympathetic look. It’s difficult to pick yourself back up when you experience failure, but failure isn’t permanent.

When things don’t go your way in any situation, it leaves a pit in your stomach. Especially when you‘ve worked so hard to make sure everything would turn out right, it can feel like the world is ending. You might feel like you can’t bounce back or motivate yourself to try again. In reality, failing is a setback. It’s an obstacle that tries to scare you away from giving yourself another chance to be successful. Failure doesn’t define who you are. It’s how you push yourself to try again and improve that impacts who you choose to become. 

There are many people out there who aren’t afraid of failure. With their resilience, they are better at picking themselves up, brushing it off, and starting all over again. However, anyone can bounce back from failure. You can overcome these setbacks by implementing a variety of strategies. 

Face reality and don’t dwell on it

The first step to overcoming your setbacks is to admit that it happened. Don’t sugar coat it; just be honest about the outcome. Realize that things didn’t work out the way you planned for it to work. Accept the fact that it’s a setback, but not a permanent one. Don’t mope over it because it won’t change the reality of your situation.

Analyze what went wrong

Whether it was an assignment, a test, an interview, etc, reflect on what you could have done better. Could you have paid more attention to lessons? Would it have helped if you asked more questions or studied longer? Could you have taken more time to prepare yourself for the interview? Break down areas where you could have put in more effort. Keep this analysis in mind to apply for next time. 

Prioritize yourself

It’s acceptable to have some difficulty pushing yourself to try again. Make sure you’re prioritizing your mental health before re-evaluating your next steps. Do something that brings you peace to destress. Drink a glass of water, watch a movie, exercise, read a book, or listen to music. We work so hard on things, especially school, that we completely forget to take a moment to care for ourselves. When was the last time you did something that truly brought you happiness? Allow yourself to be happy and not burden yourself with any failure. 

Next steps

One day you’ll get another chance to bounce back. You’ll face another test, another interview, another obstacle where you will have to work harder than you did previously. Think back to what you needed to implement before to be successful.

Create a plan of action as to how you’ll achieve your goal. Break it down and follow your plan step by step. For example, if you’re studying for a test, write down everything you know that will be on that test. Cross off everything you’re knowledgeable about, which leaves the topics you are unfamiliar with. Now you have a starting point for when you begin studying for your test. Ask your teacher questions to familiarize yourself with these topics making it easier for you to study them. You should review the notes you took this time. Review your qualifications, speaking voice and body language, and your answers to basic interview questions. Whatever your situation is, breaking down certain areas helps avoiding feeling frustrated, stressed out and overwhelmed.

Failure may make you feel like it’s the end of the world. Everyone experiences it in their life. But it doesn’t define who you are because what really matters is your resilience. How do you accept the complication and move forward stronger and smarter? On my science exam, my teacher individually marked each unit. She told me I scored higher in the chemistry section than the other units throughout the booklet. I recognized the areas I needed to improve to be successful in that exam. I asked more questions and took a ridiculous amount of notes because it helped me. What I would like you to remember is to continue to pick yourself up when you fall. You’re not your failures because you are capable of anything you desire. So, work hard and, as cheesy as it sounds, never give up.

Article Author: Alizeh Qaiser

Article Editors: Stephanie Sahadeo, Valerie Shirobokov