Finding Opportunities for Self-improvement in Failure

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?


My junior year of high school, I took Honors Biology. Although I expected to do well, as I had always had a knack for science, I immediately fell flat on my face. At the midterm, I distinctly remember looking at my grades and seeing a 74. I had a sinking feeling in my stomach; I absolutely could not believe what I was seeing. The next day I met with my biology teacher to talk about switching out of honors biology and into regular biology. Thankfully, my teacher gave me the reality check I needed. Instead of letting me take the easy way out and switch into a class that I could succeed in with minimal effort he told me that the reason I was not doing well in his class was not because I didn’t have the ability, it was because I was not putting in consistent effort and completing my work. This was something I desperately needed to hear, as to that point I had been coasting in many of my classes. I wasn’t doing all my homework or studying hard, and was generally letting myself give much less than my best. But at that moment, talking to my teacher after receiving a 74, I decided that something needed to change. I buckled down and by the end of the term I had pulled my grade up to a solid B. However, I knew that if I maintained that...

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