Successful Failures

on January 14 | in 2013 FOLK Journal Agenda | by | with 18 Comments

What are some things you have done but previously thought you could never do?

The week three writing prompt for our 2013 Journal/Blog Challenge encourages us to look back at the triumphs and unexpected success of our life. What obstacles have you faced in life that you thought were stifling, only until you overcame them?

FOLK Magazine 2013 Journal/Blog Challenge | Week #3 Writing Prompt

I have often been amused at the things I viewed as failures in my life. More times than not these moments that were failures in my eyes were not failures at all. Instead, these were moments where I simply had to do things a bit differently than everyone else in order to reach success.  There are moments in all of our lives when we are beaten down. There are moments when we fail and tell ourselves that we will not succeed simply because we haven’t and others have. Then of course, there are moments when we are told that we have failed or will never succeed just because we have not succeeded yet. In these moments, it is easy to feel defeated.  We all have different talents and create different plans for success. In these moments, we simply have to have the courage to step up to bat and do things ‘our way.’

I spent the majority of my life planning to go to med school. I wanted a career that I would enjoy. I wanted a career that would make me actually want to go to work every day. However, I grew up not believing such a career was possible. I went through grade school telling myself that the key to being an adult was making money. I never put thought into the fact that money does not buy happiness, or health. I entered college as a pre-med science major and spent two grueling years in organic chemistry, biochemistry and physiology classes. In each class I struggled with success. With hard work and numerous hours logged at the library, I did semi-succeed. I succeeded in terms of my student GPA but there was no way I would make it through a med school admissions process. I failed miserably in terms of my stress levels, my health and what I thought at the time were my career goals. Careers in the medical field made a lot of money and satisfied my belief of the responsibilities of an adult. However, I was not meant for the medical field.

We are all different. We are all capable of success. Like an assortment of canning jars though, we are not all meant for the same things.

After a summer of panicked meetings with my adviser (who is the most amazing mentor in the world) I finally did something I thought I could never do. I changed my major and embarked on a career path that I enjoyed. I couldn’t be more proud of myself for that. I wasted a lot of hours taking science classes that I will never need. I wasted a lot of time in the library. I wasted a lot of sanity stressing over grades and an admissions process that I would never embark on. In the end though, I achieved something I never expected. I achieved happiness. I finally did things my way, redefined my views of a successful adult and achieved a lifestyle that I never before believed was realistic.

We do not always realize what we are meant to do or where we are meant to end up in life. There are things we think or are told that we will never achieve… until we achieve them. Take Walt Disney for example. We have all heard his testimony of being fired from a newspaper early in his career for not being imaginative and having no original ideas. Walt Disney was not meant to write for a newspaper. He failed, but in turn he found success.


What are some things you have done but previously thought you could never do? Post your response on your own blog and link up below. Be sure to mention in your post that you are linking up to the 2013 FOLK Journal/Blog Challenge. For a list of future weekly writing prompts visit the 2013 FOLK Journaling Agenda.

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18 Responses to Successful Failures

  1. Milissa says:

    When I was 19 I had a child out of wedlock. I know that it is pretty common but not in my family! I didn’t go to college, I did get married (which everyone thought was just another failure!) Last week, I watched my 20 year old son leave for the Army, and next month I celebrate 20 years married to the best thing ever!! Trust me, I totally felt like a failure! Now I run my own buisness and I am going back to college. I love my life, and the failures just added a little spice!

    • We have gone down that road in my family as well. Children are such an amazing gift, no matter when they enter your life. I couldn’t imagine my family without that little blue eyed boy. He truly changed all of us for the better.

      Please tell your son Thank You from all of us here at FOLK, and good luck to you as you head back to school!

  2. Arcia says:

    I had only seen a spouse not come home to his wife on television. Three years ago I was that wife. I finally picked myself up and also picked up a paintbrush for the first time. Since then I have had a wonderful time. I have had my paintings at fairs and shops. What a feeling when someone buys what you have created. Meeting new people along the way is a special experience. I have kept a journal every step of the way and when I look back at my progress I am so proud of myself.

    • I love that you have kept a record of your journey. What a great way to encourage yourself to overcome future obstacles! I’m a big advocate for journaling. It helps you get to know yourself and what your strengths and weaknesses are. Congratulations on your success with your paintings!

  3. Ann says:

    “Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.” God had another plan for you…it was so not to be a doctor! I loved hearing how you came to be where you are now. Thank you for that…Ann

  4. Laura says:

    “taking science classes that I will never need”—not true Hillary! Some of those small businesses that you deal with might have a scientific aspect to them…and you’ll be the one to understand what they’re trying to get across to the public. Embrace those two years of organic and biochemistry—I bet they’ll come in handy :)

    • You are more than correct. They have already helped out a lot, even just in knowing what doctors are actually talking about when something is wrong with me or a family member. The medical vocabulary and basic physiology background are great tools to have.

  5. Great read, Hillary! It’s my belief that ‘error’ just may have needed to happen so you could figure out what your path truly was to be. Congrats!

  6. It’s funny how God puts us where he wants us to be. If we don’t listen, then sometimes he plunks it right down on us! Thanks for sharing! ~Tammy

  7. May says:

    You know you are on the wrong path when you feel that stressed and your health starts taking a toll. Glad you were smart enough to listen to what your heart and body were telling you.

  8. Timi Pace says:

    I learned to see at 56! Never thought I would see in a million years. I wanted to make a photo quilt of our family for my sister for her 60th birthday , so I set off to find some to do it for me. I went to our local fabric store and explained What I wanted and she said. Sure “you can do that” and I said Oh I don’t sew! And she said if you want my help and you want that quilt your going to learn! WOW! I’m thinking your crazy lady. I go home dejected. Told my husband, he said you can do it. Nah….. Saturday rolls around he goes out to breakfast with his brother every Saturday. He comes home with a brand new sewing machine . I say what the heck , are you kidding me? Eeek, I really have no desire to sew….. I look at the machine read the directions, like reading a foreign language to me! I go back to the fabric store . She said , oh hi I didn’t think I’d ever see you again, ha ha lady . She said you’ll need this, this and this. Go pick out your fabric. She taught me how cut, iron fold , measure and everything else. It took 3 months and I had the most beautiful quilt. My sister cried and I was on to my next quilt. That was 3 years ago and I bet I’ve made 50 quilts! So who knew? Amazing what you can accomplish when someone makes you…….

    • Arcia says:

      I hear you on that Timi. My sister taught me, saying it is easy , you can do it. I have in 3 years also made many quilts. I am proud of myself. I have in these 3 years discovered so many talents that I have had hidden. thanks for sharing.

  9. [...] to the third journal entry with Folk Magazine. Journal entries 1 is here, 2 is here. Linking to TALU with my 24 hour, 24 page [...]

  10. [...] #3 topic: What is some things you have done but previously thought you could never do? It took me several days to figure out what I would share, then it finally hit me at 4:30 this [...]

  11. [...] I particularly like Hillary from Folk Magazine’s response to her own question,  What are some things you have done but previously thought you could never do?   She didn’t address it in the way I originally thought about it, but I sure was inspired at her approach with her post Successful Failures! [...]

  12. [...] This is three of Folk Lifestyle weekly journal/blog challenge. [...]

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