|Does failure lead to success?|
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A few weeks ago I attended an address by the Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin, the Speaker's Chaplain, about overcoming obstacles in order to achieve potential. Her message, directed at an audience of secondary school girls, was simple: aspire to do your best and never take the easier option. "Go where there is no path and leave a trail," she concluded. Failure is not the end, just another step on the way to greatness.
As an apprentice writer, I have had to deal with my fair share of failure, not to mention the voice of self-doubt that gnaws at my confidence on a daily basis. I have given up counting the number of rejections from literary agents. I suspect it might be easier to win the lottery. Somehow I pick myself up, flip open my laptop and return with a heavy sigh to whatever book I happen to be working on. Over the years, my bounce-back rate has improved. Bad news on a Friday night will generally have faded into greyness by Sunday. That's the business, that's how it goes.
To some extent, such resilience also comes down to personality. I have two children. One is better than the other at dealing with setbacks. I couldn't say if the more resilient one has dealt with more failures than the other - such things are hard to catalogue. But I do know that your ability to keep on plodding past adversity is the only way to rediscover the spring in your step.
The key thing to bear in mind is that you are bigger and better than your failures. In the rich tapestry of life, a few missed stitches count for nothing. So next time you or your child fails at something, think big picture, think character-building, but most of all think: this does not define me. Look instead to your next success. That way greatness lies. I heard it from the Reverend myself.
FURTHER READINGEmma By Jane Austen
Despite a series of blunders, Jane Austen's heroine still manages to triumph in the romantic stakes with a great deal more self-knowledge than she had at the beginning of the book.