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Failure Leading To Success Essays

Common App 2: Failure and Success

The Prompt

The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

The Essay

Intro

The grass wads up between my fingers. My knuckles are crimson with clotting blood, and I know there's only more pain ahead of me. I hear the snap of the ball, and then it's the cacophony of bodies hitting one another. A lineman barrels into me, and I fall to the earth, my bones rattling with the impact.

Behind me, I can hear the quarterback being taken down, hammered to the ground again. I struggle to rise, but I do. I glance at the scoreboard, and remind myself that this isn't just a loss. It's an historic loss, and I feel every yard in my aching body.

Body

We never had a chance against them. While our team isn't bad, these are the reigning state champs, and most people who speculate on those things believe they will be playing at state again. We were nothing more than a bump in the road for them. A very painful bump in the road, as my punished body can attest.

We didn't go in thinking we were going to lose. We never prepared to get trounced. Coach had a game plan: we were to protect the quarterback and use a passing offense. Their defensive line, known for its speed, would not be able to keep up. All they needed was the offensive line, including me, to dig in and delay them. It was a good idea in theory, but theory is not the gridiron.

The defensive line plowed through us like we were made of tissue paper. My role in the plan was an utter failure. No matter what I did, what reserves of strength I tried to draw upon, they weren't enough. I was not big enough. I was not fast enough. I was not good enough. In short, I failed, and our team suffered for it. For an entire game, I was flattened over and over again by players that were larger, stronger, faster, and better than I was.

After the game, I had never felt worse. It wasn't just the physical aspects, though my aches, pains, and cuts exacerbated my feelings. It was the sense of failure, of personal failure. Had I held the line as I was supposed to, we would have won. There was no way around it.

Coach said something afterwards that completely changed my feelings. He told me he was proud of the way we had played. We were knocked down, he said, but we never stayed down. There's no shame in failure. There's only shame in never trying.

Conclusion

Had we won that day, I never would have learned anything. Had I somehow been able to hold that line as I was intended to, I would still be the same person. By failing, I was able to grow.

I could not stop them from coming through the lines on every play, but I didn't stop trying. This was the most important aspect of what happened. To a person who has never experienced failure, a single setback can be crippling. Failure, though, teaches you how to persevere in the face of adversity. My experience was painfully literal, but because of it, I can apply it to less physical areas of my life. Because of what I did, and how Coach made me understand its importance, I know that getting knocked down isn't important. Getting back up is what counts.

Why This Essay Works

Remember: the people reading college essays have a giant stack of them. They're reading them one after the other, so it's vital to grab them from the beginning with a hook. What's so effective about the introduction of this essay is that it puts you right into the middle of the action, using evocative language to create a sense of time and place.

After the introduction sets the stage, the full story unfolds. The body of the essay plays well against type. For a sports-related prompt, the reader might expect a lot of posturing. This essay is quite clear that the player is not at the top of their game, and there is no shame in that. The writer is introspective about what they regard as a failure, in a thoughtful manner that might surprise a reader expecting a more arrogant voice.

Sure, the moral is a tad cliché, but life is a little cliché sometimes. Also, when talking about success and failure, it's a little hard to not be cliché. That's why this works.

Additionally, the body continues the use of evocative language, but scales back on the intense scene-setting of the introduction. By letting the words breathe, the point comes across. Failure is not the end of the world, and for this writer, it's the beginning of understanding.

Lastly, the conclusion sums everything up. The writer re-states the prompt in their own words, and lays out precisely what they learned. With the final sentence, they end with a short, pithy comment, summing everything up in a way that should stick in the reader's mind.

Essay on Failure

Most people fail at some point in their lives. It’s a necessary and fundamental part of life. People have to generally fail at something before they find success – even though failure can be defined as a lack of success, an unsuccessful person, enterprise or thing, a lack or deficiency of a desirable quality. But failure is not a means to an end, nor does failure have to give any indication of permanence. What is permanent is not getting started in the first place out of fear of failure. To fail is to fail to hit one’s target, whatever it may be, but it doesn’t prevent one from trying again.

A lot of times, a person fails because they failed to adequately prepare for success. This extends to all aspects of life that people want to improve upon relationships, career-related objectives, and personal achievements. Most people want to a better life, have goals and things they want to do in life. A good deal of time and effort go into preparing for something important – any important undertaking. It seems that many people pursue success half-heartedly, with little effort and preparation, and they wonder why the fail. Preparation is the key to avoiding failure, or it at the very least minimizes one’s chances of failing. But it’s not always a certainty.

To lessen the likelihood of failure, one has to do things to maximize their probability of success. This can be changing one’s daily lifestyle habits, for one example. A person focused on accomplishing something, on creating success, will have to dedicate their free time to this cause. This means early nights and even earlier mornings, staying home and working instead of going out and spending money or wasting one’s time. Failure can often be attributed to a lack of commitment to success. Everyone – well, perhaps most people – strive for success. People as a whole don’t strive to fail at things in life. They generally want to excel at them.

Lifestyle habits are important when considering their effect on failure, but one’s mental habits are also a key part of success. A person convinced of their success, or that it will assuredly happen in the near future, will most likely be successful in life. They are seeing their success, what it looks and feels like, play out in their minds. This is the start of the Law of Attraction at work. The Law of Attraction is a theory arguing that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts, a person can bring about positive or negative results. If a person yearns for success, thinks about it, dreams about it, always has their mind on it, the better their chances will be for them achieving success. This means they will be less likely to fail later.

Failure can also be prevented with the right kind of foresight. It is a highly discussed and much-believed notion that a person’s success occurs in direct proportion to their ability to see how everything, every decision that is being made right now, affects their life down the road. People who are prone to failure live mostly for the day, or the next few days, and they neglect to consider the future – even the distant future. This is probably one of the strongest indicators of whether a person will fail or succeed in life.

Success – in whatever form – is not an easy thing to come about, to find. Rather it is created from lots of hard work, preparation, persistence and unrelenting confidence. Failure, on the other hand, results from a lack of these things. To conclude, failure is the absence of success, and failure is also not a means to an end, but an opportunity to learn from failure. Everybody fails at some point in their lives. What matters most is moving forward and never giving up on success. It will happen soon enough despite failure.

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