First blog: stories of success and failure

Hi there, and welcome to my blog. Now it’s a widely known fact that all successful people keep a note of their thoughts on a regular basis, whether it be in the form of a blog or a journal. Being the young, ambitious teenager that I am, I thought I’d try to emulate the successes of some of my biggest role models. Gotta start somewhere, right?

Anyway, I couldn’t think of a more suitable introduction to my blog than to start with my own thoughts and opinions on success and failure, and more importantly my own experiences. Firstly, what does it mean to be successful? Making loads of money? Becoming an international celebrity? Or perhaps inventing a device or drug which revolutionises the world as we know it? The truth is, there is no single definition of success; it varies from person to person. Now I’ve read enough motivational and productivity websites to know that setting your own realistic goals, independent of other people, is vital to your success as an individual. Chances are, most people won’t have a chance to change the world, but that doesn’t mean that they’ve failed at life. Achieving what you yourself want to achieve is what’s important. But more on that later.

One of my favourite quotes of all time comes from none other than the co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, who said “it’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure”. This quote has stuck with me for many years, although it was only recently that I learnt to truly appreciate it’s meaning. Bill Gates, like everyone in life, has had his ups and downs. No one focuses on the low points of his career, but without these low points success wouldn’t have come for him. The same can be applied to your everyday life. I actually recently experienced a ‘failure’ myself, perhaps the first major failing of my entire life, although I do not like to use the word in this case. Having been raised in a middle-class, academic family in the UK, it seemed that learning was always at the heart of what I did and who I was. In fact it still is. I’ve been brought up in a culture where it seemed that education meant everything, from your school grades all the way down to which university you went to. Over the years, I have gained colossal amounts of support from my friends and family, so it is hardly surprising that I grew overconfident in my academic capabilities. Perhaps this was to be my downfall. With the full backing of those around me, I decided to apply to Cambridge University to study medicine. A prestigious course and certainly a prestigious university. To make a long story short, I was rejected. This came to the surprise of everyone, not the least to me. How could this have happened, I ask? Did this mean I wasn’t clever enough? There was no way I could succeed in life anymore, or so I thought.

It was during this time that I thought back to what Bill Gates had said. I’ve enjoyed many successes throughout my life, some big and some small, but I had never experienced something like this. Yet I began to understand that there was actually a lot of value in this experience. Following the words of Mr Gates, I started to analyse my application from start to finish, writing down what I thought had gone wrong and what I could’ve improved on. Gradually, I began to appreciate that I shouldn’t take this as a failure. Applying to Cambridge was a learning opportunity for me, and ultimately it just wasn’t meant to be. I decided that it was probably for the best.

To end on a slightly happier note, let’s go back to what I said before about setting your own definition for success. If you’re young like I am, you may have set out future career goals, which upon achieving you will consider a great success. I’ve certainly done this myself. But what about now? Can you not experience success in your everyday life, which is ultimately working up to something larger? For me, a big step recently has been increasing my productivity, especially over the weekends. This was achieved through careful planning and time management, writing lists and prioritising tasks. Although seemingly small, I feel like I can end off this slightly disappointing week on a high. And to top it all off, I wrote my first blog post!

Until next time,

跆拳道 (Taiquandao)

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