Question: The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
The entire school was watching with bated breath, the last couple of minutes remained of the intense hockey game between our school and our major competitor school. The pressure was entirely on me, as I was the captain of the team. We were locked in a goalless draw up until now, sweating, toiling in the heat of the day, but confident of our abilities to win the game.
Suddenly out of nowhere, an opposing team player made his move across the field, giving no chance to our players who were caught unawares, and before we knew it, the opponent team player fired the ball into the goal-post and scored the all-important goal just before the referee blew the whistle to end the game. We were absolutely stunned, having clawed our way to the finals and losing the way right on the finishing line.
We all felt a sense of shame and betrayal towards our school, the feeling of betrayal and non-accomplishment for our alma mater permeated our team. No one felt the pain more than I, who, as a captain, could not complete a task I started off to do. This overhang and a sinking feeling gave me a sense of abject personal failure.
During the team de-briefing later in the day, the coach gathered us all together and made some exceptionally insightful statements, which would stay with me for the rest of my life. He said – “One bad day does not define your life. The strongest person is he who falls many times and constantly picks himself up to face the next challenge. He learns from every fall what not to do in the future and constantly evolves as a person until he attains complete success. This is what I want to tell you as a team – fail once, learn many times and adapt in future”.
Those few lines emphasized by my coach have become the essence of my life since then. I no longer bother about small failures, both on the personal and scholastic front, and instead, concentrate on what I did wrong, try to correct those errors, and constantly evolve in a positive fashion. Also, his statement that one bad day does not define me is absolutely true. There are numerous occasions when your efforts do not bear fruit, and the day is considered unproductive. But once I ponder over that day’s events, I can analyze what went wrong, and it makes me stronger just by learning from those mistakes, which I ensure never to be repeated.
In my academics, I make sure that I keep this advice always at the back of my mind, and I have seen the noticeable changes happening in a constructive manner just using these guidelines in my vocation, and since then, my future life decisions.