Carnegie Mellon University
Flipping the Boat
The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
Your world seems to fall here. Air so cold and fingers so numb, you would barely know when it happened. But you do. As your grip slips, it takes only seconds before you realize. Gravity unforgivingly pulls you from your scull and into the frigid grasp of the river. Enveloped by waves, time stands still. Weeks of progress rowing were diluted with one careless mistake. Some people rocked the boat, and I flipped it. The truth is, that rationale made my failure easier to digest. Failure was something that demanded my justification, commanded my thoughts, and seized my progress. It imprisoned my freedom, and freed my fears. It disgusted me. Floating to the surface, these buoyant thoughts remained; How would I free myself? As my double’s partner and I speed back to the dock in my coach’s launch, a deluge of emotion surfaces. Is it anger? Frustration? Disappointment? Denial? Refusing to incarcerate these feelings, I let them flow naturally. Slowly a bolder, more novel concept surfaces, Acceptance. I deal with an uncomfortable reality; I flipped the boat. Half-expecting the walls of my psyche to come crashing down, I noticeably wince. Nothing happens. After the numbing pain of the cold has departed, these questions still float within...
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