On failure

blogpic, pixabay, graduates, sunrise

Following my post in May on graduation and commencement speakers, did you all hear that Taylor Swift has received an honorary doctorate from New York University?


I thought that was great. One of the best things I noted from her commencement address was about mistakes and failure.

My mistakes led to the best things in my life. And being embarrassed when you mess up? It's part of the human experience. Getting back up, dusting yourself off, and seeing who still wants to hang out with you afterward and laugh about it - it's a gift.Taylor Swift

Recently, I realized how sharply I dread turning in drafts of my manuscript. It’s quite acute. It’s almost like I’m avoiding hearing feedback and finding what my mistakes/areas of improvement are. If I don’t turn it in, then I didn’t officially fail, right? But then what’s the point? If I get over the fear, I know deep down that feedback is the best gift, they are my chosen supervisors and I pleaded for them to take me under their wing so I can learn. I need feedback in order to succeed. How surprisingly wonderful is that?

This is what I learned this week: failures, mistakes, and setbacks won’t keep you stuck unless you let them. You control that. It might be a blow to the ego to see all the red marks on my manuscript, but it’s the only way I’ll be a better researcher. I’m pretty sure Taylor (Taytay) wasn’t just referring to academic or scholarly mistakes when she mentioned it in her speech.

We all make mistakes – some really small and petty ones, and others have profound implications for the rest of our lives. Having said that, I attest to what she said. Whatever I deemed a failure at the onset, was actually a triumph in hindsight.

What ‘failures’ have you experienced in your life so far that actually turned out to be a ‘win’?

Does what’s happened to keep you from acting with justice, generosity, self-control, sanity, prudence, honesty, humility, straightforwardness, and all other qualities that allow a person’s nature to fulfill itself? So, remember this principle when something threatens to cause you pain: the thing itself was no misfortune at all; to endure it and prevail is great good fortune. Marcus Aurelius, Meditations


Tagged in What messes with your head, study, stress, phd