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We Have to Fail, Before We Can Succeed

During the Fall semester, my students were writing for our memoir unit. And once again, I had shared with them pieces that I have written. (If you haven’t read, I wrote about the post “Be Brave. Still Believe.” a couple years ago.) But when it came time for them to write their own memoir pieces, the struggle was real. It was realer than real this year. For whatever reason, my students struggled mightily with being able to write their own stories.

They fell into the trap that most writers fall into…they fell into the trap that we find ourselves in when we scroll through social media – they were comparing themselves to what other people were doing/ had written/ had created. We all fall into that trap multiple times in our life.

However, I told one of my students (as I read over her rough draft and she sat worrying in front of me) that we must be bad before we can be good.

When we try to do something new, we will fail. It is a fact.
We will fail as we learn a new skill. We will stumble as we take new steps. We will not be an award-winning author the first time we sit down to write.

And that is OKAY!

I have failed more times than I can count – but I learn something every time.
I have stumbled as I navigate new ideas, new skills, new (and old) relationships – but each misstep has made me a better me, because I now know what I should and should not do.

Sometimes we don’t achieve the goals that we set for ourselves – and that is also OK.

I didn’t meet my book reading goal for 2021.
However, as I think about the year that I have had, I can pinpoint the months where I struggled with prioritizing reading for pleasure. I have struggled with work/life balance. I have struggled with focusing. I have struggled with prioritizing certain things (put down the phone!). I have struggled.

And I must constantly remind myself that it is OK that I didn’t meet that goal. It is OK that I’m not good at everything. It is OK as long as I try to learn and become better from each experience.

Being a person is hard. Being a good person is even harder.
It’s easy to compare ourselves to someone else and how they look, what they wear, the things they have, the life they present to the world. It is easy to then wonder what we’re doing wrong or why we’re not good enough. It is easy to lose perspective.
However, we are given one life – Our own. So it is ok to look at someone else and set goals because you are inspired, but not having certain things does not diminish your worth. Instead strive to be better, strive to reach those goals you set for yourself.

Because we must be bad before we can be good. We must fail before we can succeed. And when we do finally succeed…Celebrate!


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