Over the course of my schooling, of course I had to write several essays. This is an in-class essay which we were allowed to revise after the first grading, then bring the paper back to class. We were supposed to write about failure, whether it was possible or not and why. Here is my essay.
Failure: Is It an Option?
Susan B. Anthony once said, “Failure is impossible.” This statement and the meaning behind it have become widely popular in today’s “make your mark” and “believe in yourself” attitude. However, there is more than one kind of failure, and I believe it is possible to fail. A person can rise to the highest high and still fail to find meaning to his life, like Alexander the Great. One may also work very hard and achieve something, but on the journey there he or she may let go of personal values and fail to stay true to who they really are, such as Anakin Skywalker does in Star Wars. Finally, there are those who fail by never trying to do anything with their lives, such as one of the people on my father’s mail route. In this essay, I want to explain how failure can be more than simply “not completing something you start,” because life is about more than celebratory achievements.
My first example is Alexander the Great. Alexander the Great was a mighty military leader who thought he had conquered the world. This “celebratory achievement” did not bring him fulfillment, however. It has been said that once his empire was fully established, his generals found him weeping because there was nothing left to conquer. Alexander had focused so strongly on conquering the world that it became his sole purpose in life. Once he had (as he believed) achieved this goal, his entire purpose was taken away, and he was left discontented. In this, Alexander the Great failed to find true satisfaction even though he achieved what he set out to do.
Second, in the fictional movie series Star Wars, Anakin Skywalker was believed to be the “Chosen One” who would “bring balance to the Force.” Because of this belief, he was trained as a Jedi Knight, although he was initially rejected because he was considered too old to join the Jedi Order. When he grew up, he fell in love and married, which was forbidden for a Jedi. A few years later, events occurred which caused Anakin to fear for his wife’s life; he chose to become a Sith (an evil Force user) in order to learn a technique to protect her. This became his goal in life, and he was willing to compromise everything he believed in to save her. He killed thousands of his fellow Jedi and helped a Sith Lord start an empire. His wife died in the end anyway, killed by the very one who promised to help save her life. However, even if Anakin had met his goal and she had lived, he still would have failed himself because his actions had warped who he was as a person.
My last example is one of my father’s customers. My father is a mailman, and he sees many different people on his mail route every day. However, there is one particular customer he has told me about who does nothing all day every day except sit in his chair watching movies and eating snacks. This is a man in his thirties who, according to my father, seems perfectly healthy (or as healthy as one can be living off of junk food) and therefore is capable of work. The fact that he doesn’t do anything illustrates the third type of failure I mentioned– that of doing nothing useful in life at all. If people never try to accomplish anything with their lives, then all they’re doing is existing without benefiting anyone. This type of person isn’t willing to put effort into serving a purpose in the world, and would rather live off of other people’s hard work. Not only is this person failing himself by wasting his life, he is also failing everyone else by not using his abilities for the benefit of others.
In conclusion, I believe failure is possible for a person who A: looks for satisfaction in the wrong places, B: compromises his values in the process of achieving a goal, or C: wastes his life by doing nothing. However, success may be obtained if someone sets out to do something in the world, keeps in mind those things that really matter, and sticks to his beliefs. It is in these cases that the statement “The only time you fail is the last time you try” (The identity of who spoke this quote is unknown to me) truly applies.
There you go! I can write better than that, but I had time constraints, so… Anyway, hope you liked it! Let me know your thoughts in the comments! (Seriously, please leave a comment. If all you do is hit the “like” button that doesn’t tell me what you did and didn’t like about it) Have an awesome day. God bless!