Here’s Why I Don’t Measure My Success by Failures

June 1, 2015

When people would ask me what my goals are to work on this year, I replied that I would be working on myself. Something I’ve struggled with for a large amount of my life is my inability to jump in and start something I’ve never done before. It all started with my mom struggling to put my pointe flats on a tutu-wearing, 9-year-old Gabi, bawling her eyes out in the ballet studio for the first (and last) class that I would attend for ballet. Still to this day, people mention that they have always thought I should be a dancer, and my nostalgia flashes me back to the terror I felt, sitting in that studio, waiting for a class I didn’t want to attend.

That’s not to say that I don’t feel a little pang of regret every time my mind wanders back to ballet, or really anything that I was too stubborn to try, afraid of failure. In order to fix this problem that seems to dictate much of my life, I’ve set out to try as many things as humanly possible, no matter how inexperienced or lacking in skill I am. And, naturally, I have failed more than I did before I put myself out there, but people still seem to view me as someone who is not only actively involved in many different groups, but also decent in most.

It hasn’t been easy to make such a drastic change in my life. In fact, it has been especially difficult to be faced with so much failures. In just this year, I haven’t been picked as editor-in-chief, have tried out and not made the improv team, have submitted very personal poetry to a contest through my library that didn’t win, and have shot much higher scores on the golf team that I would’ve hoped for and been in the bottom of the pack. Looking at just my rejections, the list seems, quite frankly, saddening and fairly hefty. What it doesn’t include, however, is the doors that spreading my wings and (trying to) take flight has led me to. I have gotten familiar with both strengths and weaknesses, and will continue to search until I feel like I’ve found my “niche” in the world. If you’re freaking out about plans for the future, you should be. But if you haven’t done anything to make a not-so-small world just a little easier to find your place in, I refuse to feel bad for you.

So perk your ears and wait for the starting pistol, or grab the baton and hit the ground running, because your undiscovered talents aren’t going to surface themselves.

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