“Failure is never fatal, but failure to change might be.” – John Wooden
When I was younger, there were times where I made major mistakes that hurt my reputation and it also hurt my future. About three weeks before I was planned to head to Purdue to start college, I went out to a party and I got more intoxicated than I needed to be. That night I did the stupidest thing you can do when you’re drunk. I got in a car and decided to drive. To this day, I regret that decision. I fell asleep at the wheel and when I woke up I was heading right for about nine trees that aligned a house. There was nothing I can do except brace myself. I walked out of that car without a scratch on me. I was arrested and charged with a DUI at the age of 18.
After that incident, I was disgusted with myself and mad that I was even capable of doing such a stupid thing. What hurt me the most was the disappointment I brought to my family and especially my parents. I sat there thinking that maybe I am not ready to go off to college on my own and I thought really hard about going to a community college until I got my shit together.
What I soon realized is that everyone makes mistakes. Some are minor and some are huge, but that doesn’t mean everything is lost. All because you fail, doesn’t mean your future will be tainted or your goals and dreams will be unreachable. Its a minor speed bump that you need to get over. When I came across John Wooden’s quote, “failure is never fatal, but failure to change might be,” I thought long and hard about what Wooden was meaning by that quote. I took the quote as telling someone that you need to learn from your mistakes. If you mess up and keep repeating the same behavior, then yes you will fail, but if you learn from your mistakes, and change because of them, then you will succeed.
Leaders must learn from their mistakes and grow from them. Not all ideas are going to work but that doesn’t mean that you will fail. It just means that you need to take the idea that failed, learn from it, and change it in order for it to succeed. Every since that incident, I thank God that I didn’t get severely injured. I learned from that mistake and I have changed my behavior which has excelled me in my life here at Purdue University. Failure is part of living. Don’t let failing hold you back from achieving your true potential.