Failure is one of my favorite topics of all time. I honestly don't know where I would be if I hadn't failed so much in my life. I might be working as a ditch digger for all I know.
Not that there is anything wrong with that.
Either way, handling failure is one of those abilities that will affect your entire life in amazing and wonderful ways. That is because you can fail at almost anything you do. Do you remember the first time you tied your shoes? It was probably after a series of failures. How about when you figured out how to tell time? Pour milk into a glass? Chances are, for almost every simple thing you have ever done, you have most likely failed a bit in the getting there.
But then you started setting your sights on bigger game, dincha? Yeah, you started figuring out stuff like writing, math, and reading whole books TO YOURSELF. All these things most likely fraught with mistakes along the way. As you got older, the bigger the risks you took, the more it seemed, you had to lose. You started becoming acutely aware of the people around you, watching you try. Just waiting to see your failure. This awareness began to affect your ability to throw yourself into anything. For a while, you would give half-hearted attempts at lofty goals, and soon, not even half-hearted. Not even attempts. For the most part, you just stopped trying.
You forgot what was on the other side of failure. You forgot who, exactly, you were risking everything for. You stopped following your dreams for fear of having them slip through your fingers for good. You stopped following your dreams because even though Mr. T can do it, it doesn't mean you can. Well, listen up fool.
There is a way back to the golden road of failure.
One of the huge benefits of the college environment is that you are in a position to fail spectacularly. You can effectively practice failing for as long as you are there, so that when you get out, you will be able to take the big risks. You will take them because you will know what is on the other side of failure. You will take them because you see failure as a part of the learning process, not, as some suspect, the dying process.
As with all soft skill attainment, I have a few suggestions to getcha there.
First of all, remember who you take all of your risks for. That is you. You are the person you risk everything for. If you do not feel like you are worth the risk, then you need a type of help I cannot provide. When you ask yourself, "self, am I worth the risk?" Before the words have passed through your mind, you should be screaming at the top of your lungs, "YES SELF, YOU ARE WORTH IT!!!"
Next, when you fail, try and get something out of it. What did you learn? What can you use to inform your next attempt? Did it kill you? Was it really that bad?
Then, be sure to take notes. Yeah. Notes. This is why: in five years, you will not even remember this moment. This scared-as-shit moment you were so freaked out to face. In five years this will have been your first step. You will look back at it from the top of your unicorn and laugh triumphantly. In fact, I suggest a failure journal, so that when you experience them, you can write down on paper that it did not kill you nor was it even that painful.
After that, keep trying. No matter how bad you fail. Keep trying.
Here is a short list of things you can attempt and fail at in a college environment in no particular order:
This list is in no way exhaustive, but it does give you an idea of the kinds of things you can throw yourself into in college and learn from without having to lose too much. The great thing about college is the captive audience you have. Your fellow students, like you, are not going anywhere, and outside of classes and homework and the occasional binge drinking weekend, what is there? Nothing but opportunity. Opportunity to fail and learn spectacularly. Opportunity to take risks and learn outside of the classroom environment.
If you take these opportunities, you will be ahead of the game when you get out into the world. You will risk failure in your career in ways that will yield great results. You will be ready to get up and dust yourself off after you have fallen. You will know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that failure is just a part of the process, and if Mr. T can do it, so can you.
If you know someone who might find this useful, forward it on. OR, maybe just tweet it. Heck, paste a link on FB and see what happens. This might just be the kind of inspirational informational transformational stuff that someone you know needs. Right now.
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