“When is failure an opportunity, when is it a constraint, and how can I tell the difference?” On 28th January, the Higgins School of Humanities launched their Dialogue Symposium on ‘Embracing Failure’.
Sitting amongst what had been a great turn out; I expected to be listening to a few presentations on how to deal with failing and then participating in activities about them. Many were not quite sure when our next agenda on the to do list was to have a dialogue with a group of six to seven people to share stories about when we thought we had failed and then approaching the issue of failure in a constructive manner. For many of you who may not know what this sort of dialogue specifically means; it is having a conversation with a group of people where the objective is to listen without judging or trying to convince others of our opinions.
As I sat down in my circle to begin the dialogue, our first task was to think about an incident where we had failed. As I started thinking of what story I was going to share with the rest of the group, it occurred to me that events that I thought had shattered me with disappointment seemed so small. Nonetheless each of us went on sharing our personal experiences and how they had affected us. As the night moved on, we shifted our attention to bigger questions – what measures could be taken on-campus regarding the issue of failure? After our discussion, each group was asked to share their thoughts with everybody present in the room. Some of the key ideas were: to find the different definitions of failure, to create an environment where it was easy to accept failure, to find a balance between embracing failure and becoming discouraged over it.
Towards the end of the event, I believed what they meant when they said “embrace failure – grabbing it with both hands to explore its boundaries and possibilities”. We often underestimate the value of a meaningful conversation. One of the aspects of dialogue that always seems to surprise me is how easily it can shake your strongest opinions. I went into this event without expecting much out of it. But as I left the room that night – and I am sure many there would agree with me – I left a little more hopeful and more empowered after hearing everyone’s experience with failure and how it’s just one more thing that makes us human. This event has definitely convinced me to attend many other dialogues that Higgins School of Humanities has to offer this semester. I am sure I am far from failing and accepting failure in a way that makes my life better, but I rest assured knowing that many around me are on the same boat and that I’ll meet a few who will accompany me through my journey.
– Suaida Firoze