Over and over again, I have learned that failure is one of the best teachers. It is also one of the best motivators.
For instance, failing and coming home early from what I thought would be a dream internship taught me that the career path I was on was not the best for me and motivated me to find a new path. That happened again eight years later when I lost two jobs in quick succession. That set me on the trajectory to become a teacher, the career path I’m on now which I enjoy more than any other career I’ve ever pursued.
As a teacher, I’ve failed many times by giving lessons or assignments that fell completely flat. But from those fails, I’ve built lessons and assignments that have been roaring successes.
Nearly every year my classroom motto is “Attitude determines altitude.” I try to instill in my students what I believe is an indisputable truth – regardless of past performance, if one has a positive attitude, one can overcome any challenge and learn from past failures. A negative attitude, on the other hand, is toxic. Instead of rising above when failure happens, bitterness can ensue. Instead of a can-do attitude, a who-cares, I-give-up attitude forms.
My message today is to think to yourself that whatever has happened in the past, no matter how horrendous it seems, with the right attitude, you can put yourself on a higher plane and rise above it.
Let us take the higher ground. Instead of descending to lower depths, let’s keep on climbing to new heights!