You Win Some, You Lose Most: Failure and the Art of Cooking Chicken Breast

September 21, 2020

You’ve probably heard it before, “You win some, you lose some.”  The life ahead of you though, will more likely be defined by winning some and losing most.  That’s a reality of adult life.  People apply for countless jobs before they get an interview.

Let’s consider our friend Thomas.  Thomas is an inventor, if you can really call him that, because he spends mounds of time building things that don’t work.  Thomas spent a large majority of his life failing to invent the little glass bulb that lights our homes, offices, and cities.  A light bulb didn’t just go off in his head (maybe because they didn’t exist yet), he tried and learned and tried and learned some more until finally, by not so much a stroke of luck but more by mere persistence, he made a lightbulb glow bright.  Eloquently put by Mr. Edison himself, “I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”  Now that’s the spirit! 

Now let me introduce Michael.  Michael loves to play basketball and for his whole childhood, he dreamed of playing on his high school basketball team.  When he finally got to high school, though, he tried out and didn’t make the varsity team!  He was devastated but didn’t get discouraged, quite the opposite.  His failure inspired him to worker harder on his technical skills and then next year he made the team.  Michael went on to have a very successful professional basketball career but scattered among his many successes were multiple failures.  Mr. Jordan points out that he missed thousands of shots, lost hundreds of games, and had multiple opportunities to win a game with a single shot, and missed.  But he is not defined by his failures, he’s defined by his work ethic in overcoming his failures.

Another person you should be acquainted with is Stephen.  Stephen was a teacher that loved to write short stories in his spare time.  As he honed his writing through hobby, he began to hope he could make a career as an author.  And so he wrote his first novel.  He submitted that novel to 30 publishers and all 30 turned him down.  After that final rejection email, Stephen gave up.  If it weren’t for his wife convincing him to submit to one last publisher, that manuscript would have ended up in the waste bin never to be read again.  Instead, the 31st publisher decided to give Stephen’s novel a chance and the book, and his career blew up from there.  Mr. King’s career has since been defined by frequent success, but the success is due in large part to him knowing not to give up when faced with failure.

Your story likely also has its successes and failures.  At this point in your life you may have experienced more successes than failures, one success being getting accepted to Western.  Now though, with this huge transition and a gentle transition into the real world, it is likely you will see more failures, and learn from them at a pace you’ve yet to experience.  Take your marks for example.  Most students will see a significant drop in their marks from high school.  That is to be expected and it is a great opportunity for you to figure out what went wrong, and work to improve in areas that have room for it.  Giving up on studying or going to class is not a great way to overcome your failures, but you already know that.  You’ll learn as you get acquainted to this place, that there a resources to help you overcome your failures, no matter their nature.  There is no heroism in fighting your way out of failure by yourself.  Taking the responsibility to reach out and utilize the services available to you will help you in your undergrad and is a great lesson in problem solving for your life after Western University.

Failure won’t stop once university is over.  Once you graduate, you’ll look for a job and probably apply to a hundred places only to get interviews for a couple.  That won’t be time to wallow in your failure either, you’ll revamp your resume, get other experience, and prep really diligently for the interviews you do get.  Once you have a job, you’ll miss targets and make wrong decisions because failure is an inevitable part of success.   
If you remember nothing else, remember this: you have to overcook a chicken breast before you learn to cook a perfect, juicy chicken.