Redefining Failure

The number one question we all face in college is, “So what do you want to do after college?” I remember being asked that question when I was a freshman and thought that I have a lot of time to figure it out. Now that I’m a senior, I’m still unsure about my future plans after graduation. I started to do some research on finding success in life. I came across a series of interviews called, “30 days of genius with Chase Jarvis” and this interviewer sits down with highly successful people in various fields. After listening to people like Mark Cuban, Seth Godin, and Daymond John, I started to notice a familiar trend. Every single one of these people view failure in a similar way. Mark Cuban is a successful entrepreneur with a net worth of $3.2 billion dollars, Seth Godin is prominent writer with multiple New York Times Best Selling Books, and Daymond John is the CEO of FUBU with a net worth of $500 million dollars. The simple truth is this, failure should be accepted and encouraged. For many of the students here, we were told to get a 4.0 on our report cards, get first place in a competition, or strive to have a prestigious career. Not to say those are bad things, but I believe that there isn’t much focus on the process of getting to that point. Everyone want’s to strive for success, but don’t know how to get there.

Now I understand that applying this idea is easier said than done. As an Asian-American being raised in an Asian culture, there are a lot of expectations placed on being successful. In addition, being the only son and the oldest of three, I will be carrying on the family name. When there is that much pressure to be successful and have a stable career, we try our best to prevent ourselves from failing. Now that can have an adverse effect because failing teaches us valuable lessons. Lessons that can’t be taught from books but only through experience. So if we put ourselves in a small bubble and live life doing the same thing, how can we expect to grow? We limit ourselves from being a well rounded individual. Casey Neistat, an entrepreneur and popular Youtube film maker, once said “the most dangerous thing in life is playing it safe and not taking risks.”

People can’t wake up one morning and have everything figured out. There has to be series of failures in order to reach that success sooner. However, there is a huge sense of fear linked to failure, causing people to stay put and not move forward. Whether it be due to a sense of pride, reputation, or disappointing loved ones. For some, they can’t even consider failure being an option. How can someone expect to see progress if they don’t take the necessary steps due to this fear? Although, the reasons for the fear are legitimate, we need to redefine the way we view failure. Failure should be a two part process: the initial feeling of disappointment and then a renewed outlook on the process. Instead of placing a negative connotation to it, let’s switch it to a more positive connotation. Let’s continue to praise success and start encouraging failure. There are multiple approaches to achieving success. You just have to take the risk by trying things out. If it doesn’t work out, then take what you learned and apply it to a different approach. It can be easy to give up because it doesn’t work out. Persevere instead of giving up. Have the same goal in mind, but use different tactics.