Whose failure story do you know? Yes, a story of failure – one that might not have a happy/successful ending. Do you know more than one person’s failure story? Someone who is not in your family or not super famous? Probably not, Americans choose to talk about success rather failure. But failure is what we learn from, correct?
Recently, I facilitated small-group advising sessions with Chemistry students, co-presenting with the Chemistry Department Chair. She told the students, when she started college she wasn’t committed to being a science student, earned ‘D’ grades in her major courses, and was on Academic Probation. At our university Chemistry is a popular major, and if students are not successful at their first attempt in Chemistry 1A (entry level course) they might not be able to take it a second time until a year later, which then automatically leads to an additional year, or two, to their length of time in college. However, she also informed the students she went to talk to professors about her struggles in their courses and they provided her with “how to study effectively” advice which helped significantly in her academics, and ultimately motivate her through her Bachelor’s degree.
I believe most of us realize that success isn’t usually achieved on the first try, but how many specific stories of failure are you familiar with? Many of us know Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were college drop-outs, but we know their stories of success – what about their failures? Failure stories aren’t popular, but I believe only being familiar with stories of success gives students a false sense of reality. The famous college drop-outs we’re familiar with are famous because they worked really hard, over long periods of time, to do something significant. They didn’t drop-out and then spend a few hours a week pursuing their passion and then suddenly they were found and became famous; it doesn’t happen that way.
Success is achieved by giving 100%, and we shouldn’t only give 100% to things we’re passionate about – we all should give 100% to everything we do. That is when we find success! Seek out stories of failure, contemplate and learn from them, use them to motivate you through your failures, whether the fail is academic, personal or social. Then, learn from yourself and keep trying!
Here are a few stories to help you find your motivation/keep you motivated!