John F Kennedy once said “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” Such a bold message which reverberates through our entire lifetime: it’s okay to fail, we simply have to pick ourselves back up again. After seeing the shambles that was a-level results day and then the consequential GCSE results day I was left thinking, how many students have been told they have failed after over 10 years of education?
I was incredibly fortunate that my grades last year were good however, I saw many around me be faced with the prospect of re-sitting or dealing with the fact they had not achieved the minimum grades to progress to higher education. If I am being personally honest I used to almost look down on these people – arguably some people never did try and improve or fight for that passing grade but the more I reflected on that…. the more I realised that’s not what is important
For so many students, “failure” is not due to incompetence but merely a combination of factors that sometimes we are unable to control. For others it is a wake up call that simply gliding through life will not let you reach your full potential and it’s time to re-evaluate. Never once is a “failure” a full stop; merely a semicolon. It’s a pause – time to breathe and change direction
Take Walt Disney for example – he was told that he “lacked creativity” by his editor in the newspaper and was consequently fired. He then fell into bankruptcy with his first company before finally starting the Walt Disney Company. He ended up creating the most successful theme park in the world as well as winning 22 Academy Awards…. yet he started where all of us were, a “failure”
Lockdown has forced so many into tight corners, changing their perspectives and goals for the future but believe me when I tell you that it’s going to be okay. It’s time we all stop looking at “failure” as a negative but instead see it as an exciting change to what life has to offer. It’s opening doors that were previously closed. Didn’t get the grades you wanted? You can re-sit or take up jobs that don’t require that level of qualification; it will never be the end of the world until you believe it is. Success was never defined by monetary value or by awards won – they are simply recognition of hard work and talent. Instead, success should be defined by the hurdles you have had to overcome, the path that led you here and where you are heading next.
We are a generation of change, society is always morphing and warping into new ideals and beliefs and no longer are we set in ways that restrict people to a 9-5 office job slaving away for the rest of their lives. Some people love the office environment, some love being active and travelling the world and for some the comfort of their own home whilst working is the ideal place. No matter who you are or where you come from, take life by the horns and don’t let anyone allow you to “give up”
My mum failed her GCSE’s first time round, she’s been through hell and high water to sit where she is today. I have never had a more inspirational figure in my life and although we joke she didn’t give me my high work ethic, she definitely gave me my resilience and strive to show people what I’m truly capable of.
So please remember: your dream will never have an expiration date, take a deep breath and try again.
Article by Young Reporter Alex Greenwood
First appeared in Grimsby Telegraph 25th August 2020