Learning from failure is not a popular concept in the American reality. Failures have a negative connotation and it is not a thing that is shared to most people. Likewise, organizations steer from the issue of failure and find immediate solutions to such failures and problems without considering the possible learning that the failure brings (Nevis, DiBella & Gould, 1995). For example, mass resignations of pilots in an airline company spell disaster, and the most likely action for the company is to reduce flights. Learning from failure dictates that the airline company should look into the reasons of the pilots for leaving the airline.
The result of the survey would be used as basis to institute changes in their policies in order to address the concerns of the pilots and to prevent mass resignations in the future. Organizations however, try very hard to keep their failures from becoming public since it would not be good for their business but making failures public communicates that the organization is willing to accept their mistakes and further commit to the improvement of their policies and procedures to prevent and minimize the occurrence of mistakes (Cannon & Edmondson, 2005).
Large-scale failures that reach the consciousness of the public become common knowledge and these are used as a learning tool for other individuals and organizations. The stock market scandals have resulted to clearer and stricter guidelines in the stock market. Thus, failures are not entirely negative; instead, it has the potential for driving new information and concepts and in the development of better policies and guidelines for all.
Many college applicants will be uncomfortable with this question. After all, a college application should highlight your strengths and accomplishments, not draw attention to your failures and setbacks. But before you shy away from this essay option, consider these points:
Wishing everyone the kind of failure that generates success,
I guess the thing to stress about failure is, don’t be afraid of it. Experiment. Dive into it. Some things will succeed, some will fail. But don’t be paralyzed by failure (or fear of failure). Use it.
When I read a failure or setback essay, I ask myself three questions:
For most people, handling and overcoming failure is incredibly difficult. The sting of failure can keep us from getting back on the horse and making another attempt. For others, simply the fear of failure is enough to keep us from even attempting something in the first place. The end result of having a hard time with failure is almost always a blunting of our progress and, ultimately, us not becoming the best that we can be.
Common Application Essay Option Two: Learn from Failure
I like Thomas Edison’s quote “I have not failed 1,000 times. I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb.” That’s not focus on failure, that’s focus on a goal.