Fail To Succeed Or Fail On Your Own Terms

Don't Just Fail To Succeed, Fail On Your Own Terms

Hold on to your vision and see it through.


Sisyphus pushes a boulder up a mountain only to have it roll back down with him. He could step aside and let the boulder topple below without him, but that would be defeatist. The purpose to succeed comes from the challenge, the unexpected obstacles, and interference that stands in your path.

The texture and grooves of the boulder are familiar to your touch and steep as your footing. Out of the corner of your eye, you sneak a peek at the peak poking through. Holding on to your goal, you take another inch forward. Progress is progress, even if it means facing an error after a trial. Doing and doing your best is the goal before you reach your goal.

Failure is not in the doing either. You only fail if you stop doing what is necessary. Working with the people who know what you love to do is sometimes out of your reach, but you grasp at any advice they have. "Working under someone" is not the right phrase nor the right attitude to have. Working at what you want to succeed in is part collaboration and part cooperation.

Collaborate on a common point of connection. Develop a relationship over a similar interest you share or a person you both know from each other's lines of work. Cooperate with creative and intellectual compromise. Know what you want and work at what you are worth. The right people at the right time will notice you.

I was a Junior Achievement Volunteer my sophomore year of college. I would be a kindergarten teacher once a week for six weeks straight at Timber Lakes Elementary School. I never blamed the kids for not understanding me. If I was in kindergarten, I wouldn't understand what I was saying when I introduced myself either. It didn't help that I had to get the whole attention of a class with varied personalities but it did teach me the same curiosity and individuality a preschooler has that I brought with me the next weeks after.

I found out I wasn't a good traditional teacher, the head of the classroom filled with expectant heads and judging eyes. The experience, a disastrous series of second-guessing in my mind, was no doubt priceless. Had I not been a volunteer teacher, I could not have had or found my next opportunity, a job as a professional tutor with My Tutor Lab.

Teaching was something I could do well, but it depended on the setting and circumstances. In a group of people where the risk of the lesson being lost on some and gained by others, teaching in the classroom begins to feel impersonal and impossible to gauge. As a tutor, I am able to see how a student learns in real time, one-on-one, and can adapt to how that student learns best.

My niche was teaching but it needed to be a niche far more specific to the kind of teacher I wanted to be. I couldn't have landed a job as a tutor if I didn't fail as a teacher and even though I failed, that failure was disguised as a success. Play the role you are given until you can play the role you want.

Success is a weight you wouldn't mind carrying, but at the expense of breaking your back, lift after lift, you still come back knowing the weight is something only you can carry. You don't just have a boulder, you get to have a boulder. Suddenly, the boulder is much rounder than you remember and then it happens.

Your feet are flat and the boulder stands ready to be moved again.

Failure is succeeding on your own terms. If you fail, at least you failed the way you want, doing what you want.

Popular Right Now

A Letter To My Freshman Dorm Room As I Pack Up My Things

Somehow a 15' x 12' room became a home.


Dear Geary 411,

With your creaky beds, concrete walls, and mismatched tile floors, you are easily overlooked as just another room we were randomly assigned to— but you were different. Inside your old walls, I have made some of the best memories of my life that I will hold on to forever.

Thank you for welcoming my neighbors in with open arms who quickly became friends who didn't knock and walked in like you were their own.

I feel like an apology is needed.

We're sorry for blaring the music so loud while getting ready and acting like we can actually sing when, in reality, we know we can't. Sorry for the dance parties that got a bit out of control and ended with us standing on the desks. Sorry for the cases of the late-night giggles that came out of nowhere and just would not go away. Sorry for the homesick cries and the "I failed my test" cries and the "I'm dropping out" cries. We're sorry for hating you at first. All we saw was a tiny and insanely hot room, we had no idea what you would bring to us.

Thank you for providing me with memories of my first college friends and college experiences.

As I stand at the door looking at the bare room that I first walked into nine months ago I see so much more than just a room. I see lots and lots of dinners being eaten at the desks filled with stories of our days. I see three girls sitting on the floor laughing at God knows what. I see late night ice cream runs and dance battles. I see long nights of homework and much-needed naps. Most importantly, I look at the bed and see a girl who sat and watched her parents leave in August and was absolutely terrified, and as I lock you up for the last time today, I am so proud of who that terrified girl is now and how much she has grown.

Thank you for being a space where I could grow, where I was tested physically, mentally and emotionally and for being my home for a year.


A girl who is sad to go

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

What I Wish I Knew About Life After High School Before I Had To Live It

Life after high school isn't always what you expected it to be.


So you're about to graduate high school and you think you have it all figured out. You and your best friends are going to stay close throughout college and you're going to take those long road trips in college to see each other. Think again.

Life after high school isn't always what you want it to be. You think you'll miss high school, you'll always be close with your high school besties, and you'll have all this free time in college. That's just not entirely true. I personally do not miss high school. I don't really talk to anyone I went to high school with on a regular basis, and I'm totally OK with that. I have friends in college that I believe will be my lifelong friends whereas my friends in high school didn't make an effort to keep in contact with me after high school.

I haven't had all the free time I've dreamed of in college, because I'm busy with school and meetings. When I'm not doing homework, I'm making sure the rest of my life is in order and all my stuff for school is in line. I'm not the crazy party girl that people think I am because of where I go to school. I'd rather sit in bed and watch Netflix than go out with my friends. I'm not a 4.0 student, but I work so hard in my classes just to make sure that I'm passing. I study a week before tests and still don't always make A's. And that's OK. It's not what I expected during my college years, but it's what's happening, and most of my friends are the same way.

Anne Marie Bonadio

Just know that life in college isn't all easy, breezy, and beautiful like Covergirl. It's hard and you will struggle whether it be in school or with your friends. College isn't always complete freedom. You'll be tied down with school and life and you won't have the free time that you always imagined. You won't always be best friends with your high school friends. You won't be taking those road trips because you won't be able to afford them, and if you're like me, your parents won't let you.

College won't be exactly what you dreamed it'll be, but it'll be some of the best years of your life.

Related Content

Facebook Comments