It was in 2011. GCSEs were rapidly approaching and I had to pull myself together and revise. I was never a clever student, I excelled in some subjects but when it came to Maths, I crumbled. I attended every revision session offered, during the day, after school and at home. I worked my socks off, and the amount of revision I put in for my Maths GCSE isn’t something I will ever regret, even if I did finish with a big, fat, E.
I was sat on a beach in Cyprus at the time results were published on the Manchester Evening News. My exact thoughts were – “I’ll be fine. I revised every night and day for weeks. How could I possibly fail”? But there it was, my name and the dreaded result – a bloody E. I cried quite a lot, I don’t know if it was more to do with the fact I failed a GCSE we are told we have to get in order to get a good job and a degree, or because I felt a sense of shame and embarrassment.
I was supposed to resit the following year at College but I soon gave up. I didn’t enjoy it, I had enough GCSEs to pull me through and I found it a waste of time. For years I found it difficult telling friends and family my grade so I lied and told them I received a C – Ha. But the older I got, I realised that it wasn’t actually as important as it was made out to be. I began to make a joke out of it with other people and I quickly figured out that failure can be a funny thing and something that we shouldn’t be ashamed of.
The big fat F – Failure, is daunting, but we’d have to be Superheroes to avoid it – heck, even Superheroes experience failure, too. Failing isn’t avoidable, we all fail at different things at all ages and most of the time, it isn’t important. So why do we focus so heavily on the negative side to failing when we can actually celebrate it and laugh?
The Platform for Growth
But I also don’t think we should sway towards accepting failure. I don’t agree with the term ‘accept and move on’, I’m more keen on the idea of embracing failure. Failing at something gives you the platform to grow as a person and to be better. However, failing at something and then giving up isn’t the answer, you’re not going to get anywhere and I guarantee you’ll feel shit about it.
“Your attitude determines your view on failure. Because when your goal is performance, failure is a bad thing, but if your goal is learning, and then something fails, you don’t see it as a bad thing, because you learned something” – Arjan van Dam, a Dutch psychologist.
I see failing as a great opportunity to learn and to grow as a person. If you were good at absolutely everything, how are you ever going to improve or strive for more? Thoughts such as ‘I’ve made a mistake, and I’ll learn from that’ and reminding yourself that instead of having a fear of failing, remember you are learning and growing, are incredibly important.
So instead of writing a post about your achievements, take a look back at everything you’ve learnt from failing at something – it can be anything at all. I’ve failed at running, diets, assignments, my driving test twice, friendships, relationships, goals, ambitions, even blogging. What are your biggest failures?