Failure only happens when you quit. Otherwise, it’s just like any other step toward progress and success. My colleague and blog co-writer, Aubrey, has written two posts on failure that say a bit more on the subject.
When you fail at something, you must reflect on three things: (1) what do you do differently to fail better, (2) what does it take to try again, and lastly (3) should you try again. Failure is a wake-up call that the things you are presently doing are not working. However, it isn’t a sign that you should quit. Instead, it may be a sign that you’ve got to do things differently. The question is, what are you going to do that is different?
Speaking from personal experience, failure is a bitter pill to take. It implies that you are not good enough. However, my many attempts and failings have also taught me that failing is one of the best ways to learn. You learn, you fail, you stand up. Repeat. Eventually, you will be good enough and better than before. That’s the ultimate point.
In graduate school, be prepared to fail a lot. It humbles you, it tempers you, it teaches you how to persevere and persist. More importantly, when you fail enough times, you stop being afraid of failing, and getting up becomes a little bit easier. I won’t lie, though. It still hurts, but it is necessary.
Take a deep breath, and get back up. GET UP. Shake out the sting, and brush yourself off. Then, take a deep breath and begin again.