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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Make Failure Work for You

In her Pushcart essay, Joyce Carol Oates talks about the truth in failure. She speaks of success as something fleeting, a kind of high you ride on until it crashes and burns. Of course, she was talking in the context of writing, but there is something we all can learn from this.

Failure, at first glance, may seem humiliating, but it actually teaches us humility. You can't be full of ego when your plans have turned to dust. Humility is an important leveller, reminding us that we are not better than others.

There is another important aspect to failure. Failure teaches us what doesn't work, clearing the way for success in the future. Without failure, not only would the path not be cleared for success, we wouldn't appreciate it if we had it.

The agonizing misery of failure is what makes success so sweet.

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