Some of my best memories from growing up are from playing soccer. Soccer was so important to me, and I put a ton of pressure on myself to play well. On days when I did not, it could be challenging to deal with the frustration and anger that comes along with failure. In high school, I had a coach who, every year on try-out day, would say, “I care more about how you respond to your mistakes than your mistakes themselves.” In other words, he found that the best players were the ones who would fight to get the ball back as hard as they could if they lost it.
I was reminded of my coach’s words during the Pre-Health Panel when Lynette Wynn spoke about her experiences with failure. Like the rest of the speakers on the panel, Lynette mentioned that she had received an undesirable grade in an important class during her time as an undergrad at U of M. However, the perspective that she shared about this failure was very inspiring: failure gives you a unique opportunity to respond. These were just the words I needed to hear that night — the blood battle that was the second general chemistry midterm was still fresh in my mind. When I get back the score, I will be presented with a unique opportunity, and how I respond to it will be a great factor in how I do on the final exam. I can sit back and accept my doom that the final will be equally impossible, or I can work twice as hard to do better. No matter how I do on the final exam, I would rather be able to say that I couldn’t have studied harder for it, than to regret not doing more. I hope that this is a lesson that I will take with me not only through the rest of the classes I will take here as an undergrad, but one that I can apply to every goal I want to achieve in life.
My questions for you all: how much impact can a positive perspective have on the goals you wish to achieve? How has failure shaped the person that you are today?