Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Key to Success is to Learn from our Failures

The following blog post is from Brother James McKeown, Region H Youth Representative and PMC of Friendship-Bray Chapter.
Failure; it isn’t fun, but it is something that is a part of life. We constantly have to deal with it in school, sports, personal life, and sometimes even in DeMolay. No one’s perfect, which is why I'm sure we've all experienced failure at least once or twice in our lives. People might think it's a way of saying that you didn't succeed, but I see failure as an experience gained. An experience, good or bad, can be used as experiences for your benefit. Quitting is the only true way to fail at something. I’m going to tell you a few stories of failure that happened to me.

The first story happens over the span of four years. I played basketball for my grade school from 5th grade to 8th grade. Over those four years, I was never on the best team, despite my school having one of the best basketball programs in the Catholic School League. I would always be on the “B” team, due to my lack of skills, but that didn’t stop my team from winning. Every one of those four years, my team would be top three in the league, putting us in good spots for the playoffs. We fought hard each year through the playoffs to make the championship and made it to the big dance all four years! In true Buffalo Bills fashion, we lost the championship four straight years. Looking back at this makes me ask the question, "why?" "Why couldn’t we just win one of those championship games?" "Why couldn’t I step up and do more for my team?" I’m never going to get an answer to these questions. The reason I ask these questions is because they are part of the experience I gained through losing. This experience helped me realize some important things in life. The first thing that comes to mind is that "life is so unfair." We have all heard, or even used this phrase. The only time we think about "life being unfair" is when it smacks us in the face. I truly believe that my team and I never failed. It taught my team and I that winning isn’t everything, that life still goes on after a loss. Losing taught us to keep moving forward and use the loss as motivation to better yourself.   

The second story is about a failure that I experienced in DeMolay. It was September 2017, and happened at the Mid Atlantic Tournament of Champions, which we know better as MATOC. During MATOC, I was set to perform the Magnificent Seven. I should have taken a few lessons from the Boy Scouts prepared better.I was not ready to perform the Magnificent Seven and I was going into this competition knowing that it will not be pretty. The lack of confidence showed, because I got 10 out of a possible score of 1000. I almost gave up halfway through the competition. Quite frankly, I never wanted to do ritual again. This experience of failure was hard to come to terms with, but it also taught me a few key lessons in life. It is still teaching me a lesson, which I still am learning to this day, and that is procrastination is bad. I really wasn’t motivated to learn my part for MATOC and that is the main reason why I procrastinated until the final few days to learn my part. Another lesson it taught me is to be confident. Being confident can make a major difference in one's performance. Looking back at this year's MATOC, I am glad I went. Without this experience of failure, I wouldn’t be learning these key lessons that will help me down the path of life. This experience helps me strive to do better in ritual, because now I know the embarrassment of doing poorly while other people are judging you. Will I do better in ritual now? I don’t know the answer to that question. All I know is that I will strive to do better and try to be the best ritualist I can be. 

Going into writing this blog post, I wanted to share experiences to help combat failure, but I realized that combating failure just comes naturally. We need failures in order to succeed. We need to know the bitterness taste of defeat before tasting the sweetness of victory. I’m glad I got to experience failure, because I can now use these experiences as motivation to better myself. The only way you don’t succeed is when you decide you've given up. Just because you failed at a task, doesn't make you a failure. Learn from these experiences, and I promise you that you will succeed.

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