Dear Huhana & Kāhu o te Rangi,
Have you failed yet? Didn’t make a team you ’needed’ to be on? Wanted to build something that you were sure would be incredible, and watched it fall to pieces instead? I know it’s hard to remember at the time, but we all fail. If you learned something in the process, then while that attempt might have been a failure, YOU still won. You won experience. You know more. You’ve grown. You’ve learned. That’s success.
So the more you fail, the better. The more you fail, the more you’re trying. If you fail three times and learn three things, you’re three times as strong for your fourth attempt. That’s success.
It’s easy to forget that every successful person you see, whatever your definition of success might be, has failed many times before they got to where they are now. You just might not know about it, because popular culture prefers to hear about success. But they’ve all failed.
- JK Rowling was a jobless, solo mother who considered herself a failure before she finished the Harry Potter series.
- Before Microsoft, Bill Gates dropped out of university and started a company which failed and which you’ve probably never heard of.
- Einstein couldn’t speak properly until he was nine years old.
- Steven Spielberg was rejected from University three times.
- Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper for not being creative enough, and his first studio went bankrupt.
Those are all really, really successful people.
What if those failures are just a log of your lessons? A tally of the times you tried to make something special, tried to change the world, tried to achieve something for yourself or somebody else. What if they weren’t something sad or embarrassing but something to look back at and know you’re wiser for the experience, your armour is thicker, and ‘hell no’ you didn’t let that bump in the road keep you off track. What if every failure is really a success? In forty years time, I hope we can talk about your failures like that. I hope you’re as proud of them as I know your mum and I will be.
The only failure you will regret when you’re you’re older is a failure to try. So try, fail, then try again. Just make sure you’re learning in the process.