What if our circumstances don't define us? What if our accomplishments are only part of who we are? What if the events of the past only shape who we are now, and who we will become, but don't dictate the person we turn into?
In American culture, it appears that we continuously reinforce the idea that our achievements make us, and our failures break us. You didn't go to college, then you can never be above average. You failed that test, maybe your best just isn't good enough. You got turned down for the job you want, well, maybe it is time to look into more realistic jobs that fit your "unique" skill sets.
We are told that, unless you are the head of the class, you don't matter. You need to become the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates if you want to matter. If you don't do well in school, college isn't going to happen, much less grad school. In a sense, mediocrity becomes the chief characteristic that people are continually trying to redefine about themselves, but are never fully able change. It is almost like that category which we fear most, becomes the category that we can't escape.
In societies such as the one we have here America, there have to be losers in order for there to be winners. While I am neither agreeing, nor disagreeing with this idea, the issue is that the loser category becomes inescapable. In order to be winners, our society shoves as many people as it can down into the prison that is mediocrity. Then, these same 'winners' does everything in their power to keep people in this prison, lest someone escape and threaten their little slice of happiness. Rather than helping people succeed, our society dooms them to failure, and does everything it can to make the perpetuation of failure a recurring phenomenon in that person's life.
So what if someone were to say no? No, I will succeed in spite of my failure. No, failure is not who I have become, but rather failure looks becoming on me. No, I will not allow someone else to dictate the person I will become simply because I threaten their ideal future by my ability to succeed.
The closer we get to succeeding, the more people are going to want to show us why we will never get close enough. If we let this flawed system tell us that our dreams are too big, or our vision too impossible, then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and our naysayers are, in turn, correct. By making our failures shape our successes, we prove the error of their mindset, and show that we have the power to choose who we become, and they, however, do not.
Really, failure is just a stepping stone on the road to success, instead of a slippery slope down the path to mediocrity. By changing our perspective, we change our purpose from trying not to fail, to striving toward achieving our dreams.
This is the mindset of success.