In Regards to Failure

A lot of the students on this blog have been talking about their progress concerning events, supply drives, and other initiatives to help bring education to the children of Afghanistan. I, on the other hand, haven’t really been discussing it much at all in my posts. Not because I haven’t been putting in the effort, but because I have met with very little success. Not exactly good reading.

It’s a bit hard to admit that, as no one wants to let down the people they are trying hard to help. Yet every box, flyer, and meeting I had, all of the people I talked to and made plans with, most of it fell through and none of it seemed to make a dent toward accomplishing my goals. It was, understandably, very disheartening.

An armature for a sculpture I was making that ended up getting ruined when it got left on a hot stove. Oops.

An armature for a sculpture I was making that ended up getting ruined when it got left on a hot stove. Oops.

Now, I come from a different background from many of the students taking this course. I am not a medical science major, or an engineer. My degree is in Art Studio. Make of that what you will, I suppose, but I think in many ways I am able to address this place I reached with more understanding than some of my peers.

I don’t take these setbacks personally. I understand that much of it was outside of my control, and at this point I can only learn from my mistakes. But that’s the thing. To learn, and to grow. In the art program, we are taught that failure is not only common, but it should be expected. One should not shy away for fear of not getting the results one wants. An artist needs to, over the course of their life and career, continue to push their boundaries and experiment. And not all experiments work. If they refuse to do this, they will stagnate and cease to grow and flourish. We learn from our successes, but perhaps more so we learn from our failures. Against all logic, If one is not failing now and then, they probably aren’t accomplishing as much as they could.

Our culture seems to see success and failure as intrinsically opposed, rather than as one succeeding the other.

Our culture seems to see success and failure as intrinsically opposed, rather than as one succeeding the other.

So while some in my classes have had entire shipments of pens land on their doorsteps, I have had only lessons. This is a bittersweet sentiment. Still, I am not ready to throw in the towel. Growth is a constant journey, so if I encounter a few setbacks I know I simply must get up, dust myself, and keep going down that path. Now matter how bruised I might get, I can’t give up just yet. There is still so much to learn.

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