The Success in Failure

How many times have you failed at something? Or does what you do after, determine who you are? An interesting theory and one that our Heads of Senior School, Imogen Mayhook-Walker and Alex Greenhalgh, posed during assembly last month. Hosting a “Heads of Senior School Assembly” is a new initiative this term, and they were joined on stage by the three heads of senior house too, Molly Bates, Ollie Walters and Henry Robinson. Having posed their question, the seniors proceeded to share with their audience the countless number of now famous people who did indeed fail constantly during their lives, but just look at them now! Walt Disney, Soichiro Honda, Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Abraham Lincoln to name a few. Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor for lacking imagination; Soichiro Honda was turned down for a job as an Engineer at Toyota; Oprah Winfrey was fired from her job as a TV reporter for being unfit for TV and Abraham Lincoln’s list of failures is, well, just too long to write down! The seniors concluded their presentation with the following very valuable piece of advice for their enamoured audience:

“Now, we’re not saying go and fail your next exam, give up on football or cook a really bad dinner. The point is, do not be afraid to fail or make a mistake. Put your hand up in class, even if you are not sure of the answer. Create something different that no one else will expect, but most importantly, if you do fail, take it as an opportunity to learn where you went wrong so you can try again and succeed.”

In the words of Thomas Edison, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up.”

February 2017