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?

The summer before my junior year, I watched my grandparents working on the far side of the lawn, shoveling compost and mounds of grayish soil over freshly seeded patches. It was a strangely perceptive moment: glistening beads of sweat ran over their wrinkled, experienced hands, seeping into creases filled with grit and soil. Having spent my teenage years living in the city, I was never able to fathom why my grandparents continued farming when they could buy everything they needed at the local store, just a short drive away. I thought their gardening a little odd, but gave it no further attention. I had other things on my mind.

That summer, all of my waking thoughts were consumed by the Young Entrepreneurship Challenge, in which a team of students and I were tasked with formulating a comprehensive business plan for an African agricultural company planning to penetrate the national market. After wrestling with a variety of concepts and weeding out foreseeable flaws and risks, I was left with a charming model. By engineering a social media campaign enabling citizens to discover more about foreign cultures, our venture could effectively promote African produce. Certain of my idea's success, I persuaded teammates to adopt it; but,...

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