Why you Should Embrace Failure

By Sophie James

We are often told that failing school exams or flunking out of Uni is the end of the world. However, even the best haven’t had a smooth road to success and failure is just part of the job.

In the school system, there are so many assumptions about what you should and can do when you leave school. One minute, you’re a carefree child, then seemingly overnight you are expected to have a plan for the next five years.

The truth is, not many students know what they want to do, or change their minds’ four or five times before they land on the right track and you know what history has proven, that’s more than ok.

If you’re feeling down about your career (or lack of) whilst your friends are getting degrees or straight As, here are a few successful ‘failures’ that turned out just fine…

I am going to hit you with a good one first: Mark Zuckerberg. For those who don’t know who this man is, he just created that little social network that revolutionised communication…Facebook.

Mark dropped out of Harvard during his sophomore year after a lawsuit was filed against him about Facebook and the originality of his idea. However, Mark didn’t let this affect his path to success, instead, he perfected Facebook and made it one of the biggest success stories in tech history.

You probably have his phone, laptop or tablet but even Steve Jobs, the inventor of Apple, dropped out of Reed College after six months. He took up creative classes for the next year and a half, then he started Apple and the rest is history.

Bill Gates left Harvard to invent Microsoft. We all have him to thank for Microsoft word spell check that has saved me every time I have had to do an assignment! Anyway, Bill dropped out of Harvard to focus on Microsoft, and to start his own company. He planned on going back to College if the company didn’t work out however in March this year, he was ranked the richest person in the world, so I think his college days are over.

Lady Gaga left NYU after she finished her freshman year. She then sang at pubs and clubs to try and get her name established in the local music scene.  Her father even said that if she didn’t release a record within a year, she would have to move back in with her parents. Well, she didn’t have to and now she is a household name and artistic visionary. 

I was surprised to find out that that Brad Pitt dropped out of the University of Missouri, where he was earning a degree in journalism, 2 weeks before graduation. He dropped out to pursue his acting dreams, and working odd jobs to pay the rent. I think we can all agree he did alright for himself.

Walt Disney dropped out of high school, travelled, got hired at a local paper and was then fired by his editor. Apparently, Walt got fired for his “lack of imagination”. He then had a go at operating a business, which ended in bankruptcy. Walt failed at a lot of things but if he never tried them, he would not have been the success and creative genius behind the Disney movies we all cherish.

The great Albert Einstein was actually expelled from school because he was considered a rebel by his superiors. Before that, he wasn’t able talk until he was four years old. However, he did not let these issues keep him from being one of the greatest minds to ever wonder this earth.

Going to school and furthering your education is a worthwhile pursuit, however, it’s also fine to take alternative paths to greatness. Formal education institutes aren’t always the best place to learn, education is everywhere. If you are not doing something you absolutely love, never feel like that is your only option. If you fail, don’t feel disheartened. It may take months or years to figure out the career or life for you, but just keep on believing, looking and trying as these people did, and I’m sure you will be just fine.

Sure, their family or friends may not have wanted them to quit school but as the saying goes, you never know unless you try or in this case…fail.

Image Credits:

Mark Zuckerberg via Wired

Bill Gates via Dyslexia.com.au

Lady Gaga via Billboard


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