Stop Whining- Learn to win at failing

Everyone fails. It is part of life. Rather than pretend it won’t happen or whine when it knocks on your door, you should count on it and know what you will do to recover from it. Getting comfortable with failure is a key step in becoming a better risk–taker and successful leader. That is why we celebrate failure and persistence in the college. Today, we begin the fourteenth  installment of our Failure Competition. Entering our competition is simple:

Write an account of a failure you have experienced in the past. Your failure story has to focus on a time you stepped out of your comfort zone to experience something new: the farther the better. Tell us why this was such a stretch for you, the failure that resulted and what you learned from the experience that would be of interest to others. It needs to be genuine, people can spot a fish story a mile way.

While the Failure Competition began with students in our capstone class, it is now open to any UCF student on campus: undergraduate, graduate or EMBA, business, education, engineering or whatever. The only requirement is that you currently be enrolled at UCF. About a year ago, we had a music student win the competition.

Need inspiration or guidance to tell your story? Search my blog. We have posted many stories about failure over the years.

Here are the ground rules, complete with important deadlines:

To enter you must post your essay in response to this blog. If you are a capstone student this semester include your section number and name of your instructor. If you are not in this class, tell me your class standing ( e.g., freshman, senior, graduate student) and your field of study. You must complete this exercise by 5 pm on Friday July 6th. Don’t Worry If You Don’t See it Right Away. I Have to Accept It.

A panel of College staff will choose no more than five finalists for me to consider. I will select three finalists by July 9th at 5 pm.

The finalists will be asked to submit short videos based on their essays. Those videos must be sent to me by 5 pm on July 20th.

I will then feature one video each day on my blog starting July 23rd with a vote by everyone reading my blog taking place to determine the winner on Friday July 27th.

The winner will get a letter of recommendation from me along with a $500 prize. Second place will get $300, third place $200. These monies are awarded through our financial aid office.

Good Luck

11 thoughts on “Stop Whining- Learn to win at failing

  1. One of the failures I regret the most is not getting my Cambridge diploma. In high school I was in the Aice program which is like AP but for Cambridge in London. To get the diploma I have to take and pass 6 classes and final exams. If I get the diploma then I would have the highest level of bright future scholarship. I was one class away from getting the diploma. If I would of gotten it, it would have helped me greatly in college financially which I struggle with now sometimes. What I learned is to always give my all and not take things for granted.

  2. At the age of five years old I came to America from the Netherlands not knowing a word of English. My mother had just remarried to my step dad who was from New Jersey and they had decided together to move to Florida to start a new life. I enrolled into Kindergarten and struggled greatly because of the language barrier. I did not know how to spell, read, or write any English so even the most basic tasks were a challenge to me. I did not make many friends right of the bat because I did not have the common words to communicate and my parents told me when I was older that I even was picked on for my funny accent. I transferred schools and it was highly recommended that I repeat Kindergarten because I had struggled to meet the requirements to pass the grade. My parents decided it was best for me to stay back and repeat kindergarten. To me it felt strange because I was with a younger group of kids who were just entering school. It took me over a year and additional tutoring to finally conquer the language and overcome this challenge. This failure of me not being able to communicate/understand the English language and having to take additional time to succeed school, in the long run, would be one of my biggest blessings and motivators to succeed in this life.

  3. To this day, I would say one of my greatest failures was the fact that I had drop Introduction to Algebra at the state college I attended prior to becoming a Knight. Introduction to Algebra is one of the easiest math courses that is offered, and it is especially less challenging of a course at a state college level compared to university standards. Going into the course, I thought it would be a breeze and an easy A. I was in for a rude awakening, and I was completely devastated that I ended up having to drop an easy class my first semester at the community college. I questioned if college was the right decision for me, and I started to second guess my decision on moving forward with my college education. As I learned from my parents at a young age, to never give up and learn from my failures, I decided that dropping Introduction to Algebra was not going to stop me from pursing my education. After retaking the course the following semester, I ended up earning an A. Two years later I ended up earning my AA from the state college with a 3.46 GPA while never having to drop a course again there, and transferring to UCF. I am now going to be a senior this fall semester and I am majoring in Integrated Business. The most important thing about failing is what you get out of your failure. I have learned from this failure to never take anything lightly. If 100% time, dedication, and caring are not delivered then failure will occur.

  4. Sophomore – Majoring in Business Management | Minoring in Political Science Pre-Law and Leadership Studies

    It is a wild idea to think that so much good can come from failure. Little did I know then, what I know now. I applied to be the Director of Service for the Student Government Association for the 2018-2019 school year, and as you can probably guess, I didn’t get the position. This was a stretch for me because I knew I had a slim chance of getting the position, and I let that thought become my reality. In this political world, I did not support the candidates that won SGA President and Vice President, and this was publicly known as I worked on another ticket’s campaign. Let us start from the beginning of my freshmen year. I had been so fortunate to be selected to be a member of the Student Government Leadership Council (SGLC), a mentorship program that the position I was applying for oversaw. I was so involved within SGA in my first year of college through SGLC. I became the Relay for Life team captain for SGLC. I volunteered at events such as Light Up UCF, Universal Knights ticket distribution, and the Passing of the Gavel event (where I had the honor to walk Dr. John C. Hitt to his table for the evening). I fell in love with the environment and people within the SGA office. I thought it was a place where I truly belonged and could serve and have the greatest impact on others. But when my interview came, I failed to let my genuine passion and aspirations shine past my self-doubt and fear of not fitting in amongst the political world I had begun to see in a new light. I also let my ego take over my mind, as I did not try my absolute hardest, as I had always gotten the opportunities I sought after.

    There are many reasons why I benefited from this failure. First off, I learned a lot from this experience. I learned that passion means everything. Sometimes, a person for the job won’t be picked because of what an interviewer reads on their resume, but what the interview hears from their heart. This is what my interview lacked. My genuine words, and genuine passion to serve and help others. I was so taken back by something my interviewer had said to me, I lost the focus and confidence I needed to truly show them who I was and why I was qualified for the position. I had the passion and knew that, but I failed to truly show it in the moment. I also learned to never expect anything. Yes, I am a hard worker and have been very involved. Yes, I have done many great things and have had diverse experiences. But nonetheless, so have many other people. I learned that this alone will not get me to where I want to go. What I also needed to set me a part from the other applicants, was to be vulnerable and modest. I should have come in with a mindset that although it is possible that someone may appear more qualified based on their experience, no one had the passion and drive that I had to commit to this position and bring it to a level beyond what was expected of me. Although I did not receive the position, I continue to work along my friend who did receive it, and I aspire to work closely with SGA to achieve the goals I had in mind, and that was to make UCF a better university each and every day.

    I’m proud to say that instead of being the Director of Service, I will be an Undergraduate Admission Ambassador and Knights Hospitality FANgineer at sports events. This summer, I am serving as an O-Teamer, and when summer orientations come to an end, I will begin my venture as a resident assistant at the Northview housing community. I am proud to say that I learned from my failure. That I didn’t let it stop me from chasing my dreams of helping others and being a part of something greater than myself. It helped me realize that I won’t get every opportunity no matter how much I want it. I learned to focus on what I want to do, and seek the opportunity to do it, not just to seek a certain position or title. This moment of rejection helped me realize that I must always give every opportunity my all, and even after doing so, finding ways to give more. I learned that having a “back up plan” and “rolling with the punches” are sometimes the best pieces of cliche advice one could receive and follow. You never know where you may end up when you take a step in a different direction.

  5. Integrated Business Major
    Failure Leads to Success

    Go to work on time. Listen to your manager and supervisor. Hope they notice your hard work. Find a new job if they don’t.
    This was the amount of effort I had been putting into my career for the past 14 years. I’ll admit, it never got me very far, but I was always too much of an introvert to do anything else. I have been promoted a couple of times, but without taking initiative and speaking up there is an invisible promotion ceiling and eventually, for me, the cycle starts over again.
    Now I work for a small local start up in Orlando that is rapidly changing and growing. I was the second full-time representative in my department. With a total of only three employees we were struggling to keep up with consumer demands and needed something to change right away. Within three months of working there we lost our department manager. He was soon replaced with someone who had over 10 years of management experience and was eager to make changes. This seemed like the change that we needed in our department.
    Although our new manager meant well, his experience was in a completely different niche and our business was new to him. He had a new title, new employees, and a new work culture to get used to. Coming from an industry of cutthroat sales reps his management style offended many of us, because we had a very supportive and nurturing culture. He was putting emphasis on issues that were not urgent and leaving the other issues unaddressed. I was being called outside of work hours to address concerns that I felt were not important. So many changes were happening and they were not being communicated properly. I could feel the team morale decreasing.
    I had two options, I could look for a new job (even though I liked working at this company very much) or I could say something. It just so happens that someone else went to HR with a complaint against the new manager and this led to the whole team being asked to provide feedback. After speaking with the HR Director, she agreed to talk to our manager, but she did ask me if I had spoken to him about it first. I knew that was the right thing to do, even if it was outside of my comfort zone. I was afraid that it would ruin my relationship with the new manager, but I told her that I would like the opportunity to talk to him myself and that I would let her know how it went afterwards. It was time I started taking initiative.
    I tried to prepare as much as possible. I jotted down a couple of the things that bothered me and a few possible solutions. I had an outline of how I wanted the conversation to go, but I knew it would be a challenge to stay focused. I asked him if he had some time to talk and he asked me if he had done something bad, I explained that it wasn’t that he did something bad, but more I wanted to get to know him better and identify some areas in which we, as a team, could improve. It may sound very well thought out, but I was nervous and shaking and trying my best to stay focused and cover all the points that I wanted to. I deviated from the outline every time he asked a question. I tried to control the conversation, but his personality was very over powering. I was tripping and stumbling over all my words, I felt like he could sense my lack of confidence. It was very hard not to rush because I just wanted it to be over with.
    Literally the next module in my Integrated Business Foundations class was “Uncomfortable Conversations”! There were so many things that I had done wrong. I should have been more specific. I should have not mentioned the opinions of others and instead focused on my own thoughts and opinions. I should have anticipated his responses and planned my rebuttal. The list goes on. A couple days later he asked to speak to me. He said that no employee, in his entire career, had done something like that before. I was terrified that it was the wrong thing to do and now he would never consider helping me in my career. However, he said that after that talk he gained a strong sense of respect for me and that I intimidated him! (It was a compliment.)
    Not only had I failed at providing constructive feedback to my manager, but I had been failing for 14 years. This experience helped me realize that by expressing my needs and opinions I could make the workplace better for myself and others. Through my failure I discovered confidence, discipline, and a voice. The next time I have to face an uncomfortable conversation I will be prepared.

  6. Jessica Lupo

    I remember the day so clearly. The wooden blocks were towering above me as I admired the masterpiece that took me all afternoon to build. A 6-foot-tall wooden block tower topped with a rubber duck was looming above my 40 inch, 5-year-old frame. I was so proud! Then my preschool engineering skills failed me. What happened? The tower fell on top of me. I cried, settled down and then went back to playing. My then teacher Ms. Amanda came over and explained the tower fell because the table was wobbly and the base wasn’t strong enough to support the tall body. So with the help of my friends, and my teacher we built a new tower that was even bigger and sturdier.

    I failed fast. I failed safely. I failed, got feedback, and added value to those around me.

    Fast forward to right now, 15 years later as a Summer Analyst in New York City, I make mistakes every single day. Similar to my preschool mistakes they are fast, safe, and I add value by sharing those mistakes with others and gaining feedback.

    My first weekend here I knew I wanted to explore. I bought an unlimited MetroCard for $121 and walked into the World Trade Center looking for the subway platform. I was on the right platform, but I took the wrong train to Brooklyn instead of uptown towards Central Park. I learned if you make a mistake don’t worry. Sometimes you could be on the right path but make a wrong turn, it is fixable with time, energy and a little thought. Later that day I was able to help a woman find her platform AND train at Penn Station.

    If it wasn’t for the wooden tower falling and my preschool self getting an explanation, my outlook on mistakes would be different today.

  7. My failure story is neither about academics nor profession. It is a personal issue that have followed me for the longest. I started dancing when I was five years old, then I stopped when I moved to the United States for college. I played piano for ten years, then I quitted five years ago. I took violin lessons for two years, then I stopped. Two years ago, I learned how to paint then I ceased to practice. I was great at all those activities. I performed many times and received certificates and gifts. I even applied for an art degree at Seminole State College. My family thought fine arts was my passion and I would become an artist. I, even believed so.

    However, when I truly learned the definition of passion, I realized that I was lying to myself. Passion is not something that excites in the moment, it’s what brings you down when you can’t do what always excites you. But, I did not feel that. I had more of a “Had to” attitude towards these activities. My parents paid for the classes, therefore I had to learn quickly and excel. I had to do my best so that I don’t disappoint my parents. This is what I genuinely felt.

    All those years, I confused being good at something and being passionate about something. As a result, I failed my parents and I failed myself. I failed my parents because after all their sacrifices to offer me those opportunities, I just quitted and crushed their expectations. Then, I failed myself because I did not have the courage to admit that I was not passionate about dance, music and everything else. I enjoyed them but not enough to fight for them and I failed to realize that and almost build a career involving them.

    However, thanks to my past experiences, I now know that being good is not enough, I must also project the “I want to” attitude and be always determined to succeed without quitting.

  8. Senior- Majoring in Integrated Business

    I realize that I missed the deadline but I wanted to share my failure story.

    I was a high school graduate. I was excited about the future and what my future had in store for me. I was unsure what I wanted to pursue after high school, but I did know that I wanted to pursue something in the arts. So I decided to go to Valencia for my first two years and get my AA. I was determined and focused I was studying architecture and had a goal. I eventually realized that architecture was not the major for me, so I decided to switch to general, so I can get my AA quicker but also take studio art classes. After receiving my AA, I decided to enroll at the University of Central Florida. I was a little nervous because of I an individual that was shy and was used to classes that had a maximum of 30 students. Coming to UCF, I was unsure what I wanted to major in. I wanted to pursue my passion, art, but I had a lot of people telling me to pursue something different, something that, I will be able to make a living of off. So I decided to pursue marketing, it was still associated with art, but it was something that I could make a living with.

    My first semester, the first day at the university and I struggled to find parking, showed up to my first class and was overwhelmed at how many people were there, the entire atrium was packed. People were standing in the isles and along the back wall. My anxiety started to kick but I would let that knock me down. That semester, I struggled and in the back of my head, I wanted to drop out and focus on work and art. Art was my passion, I had the skills, and it was something I enjoyed to do. I didn’t understand the business classes and couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t understanding the material.

    After talking to some friends, and family, I decided to minor in studio art, so I could take some art classes, but I later decided to switch to integrated business so I can graduate on time. When I took the art classes, my grades improved and I was enjoying my time at the university. It felt like a fresh start, and the first semester in my major I passed with A’s and B’s. The first time I have achieved this in the college of business, and it felt good.

    Long story short, I was the nervous kid, coming into the college of business failing my first semester and wanting to drop out, to busting my ass, and being able to graduate in the fall!

    Thank you for reading.
    Tyler Anderson

  9. MAN 4720 Summer 2018
    Lecture Professor; Professor Leo
    Lab Professor: Professor Sharek

    Truly apologize for missing the deadline but I wanted to share my story.

    Boom! Boom! My heart is pounding, beating immensely fast and hard. I could hardly catch my breath, actually I don’t even know if I was breathing. The anticipation was killing me by the second as I waited for the letter of my life. As I waited for my future….. While hyperventilating I thought to myself “Janay, don’t worry you’ll get in. You got this! My family is counting on me, my granny is counting on me!” then “Bing”, I hear the sound of a new email. ……My bedroom all of a sudden becomes still like a forest, the atmosphere around me seems as if it’s moving in slow motion, and my reality distorts into a kind of dream. It just didn’t seem….”real”? As I read the rejection email from my dream school my life just stopped and stood still. I was in a daze and just couldn’t process that I didn’t get into the University of Florida, which was my “dream” school and one of the two colleges I applied for. Honestly, I felt so disappointed and disgusted with myself. I had sooo many people counting on me to make to college and get accepted into a great university. I was going to make it out of the struggle I was in and become something of myself and my family. I was the first person in my family to go to college, well even make a plan for college; And by getting rejected I felt that I had messed it up for everyone. This situation was so out of my comfort zone because throughout my life I have succeeded at mostly everything. Whether it was getting honor roll every single year or being the MVP of my cheer team, I had particularly never severely “failed” at anything before this point. As time went on, and my peers started getting their acceptance letters from UF, I just sulked in my own puddle of disappointment and bitterness. Until, I was called into my guidance counselor’s office to be notified that I was accepted into the University of Central Florida. Still in disbelief from the rejection, I didn’t even believe my counselor for a moment. But ultimately I was grateful for the acceptance because that was my last chance for a university but I definitely wasn’t ecstatic to go to UCF.
    Now going into my senior year as a business management major and minoring in marketing, I can wholeheartedly say that “It was worth it” as my heart smiles and my mind stands fearlessly. In retrospect, looking back on that failure and thinking that my life was over at that moment and how I was such a disappointment. I can now say “Boy, was I WRONG!” Coming to UCF was a failure disguised as a blessing. I was able to flourish as an individual and grow into a proficient, knowledgeable, and beautiful young lady. Coming to this university has provided me with so much empowerment and opportunities. This included making Dean’s List two years in a row consecutively for fall and spring, and also never receiving a grade of “C” in college. I have even been granted with the opportunity to become a peer mentor for Access summer program at UCF. I stand tall and confident because I didn’t let this “failure” stop me from being successful. I realized my faults and kept moving until I fortified these faults and they became strengths. So I thank the University of Central Florida for seeing potential in me and when I didn’t even believe in myself.

  10. Growing up in my younger years, I dreamed of becoming a great person, a leader, a charismatic figure and doing great things for the country and possibly the whole world. On my tenth grade which was called SLC (School Leaving Certificate in Nepal), famously termed as an iron gate to enter one’s career, I got into anxiety, depression and vicious psychological problem while nearing (2 months away) to the final exam. Everybody was asking me about what was happening to me, they’re questioning me and pinpointing me, asking me if I lost control of myself and became a lunatic. Everybody (my family, my relatives, my friends, my teachers) was worried about me. Being an ambitious person, I was devasted and stunned and it was a matter of great shame to me. I talked with my teachers, colleagues, seniors and relatives and asked if they have any suggestions. Everybody was giving me their share of advice. I sought help from psychiatrists and stayed in hospital for some days. The doctor even requested parents of my best friend to stay with me at the hospital for a day. Sometimes I was fine, other time I was lost in different world. I couldn’t concentrate on my studies and felt that my memory was not working. Some of my relatives advised my parents to see a witch doctor and seek for their help. I never knew of witch doctor before that time. That didn’t help either. My school’s Principal was advising me to take a break and study next year. It was a massive pressure to my young brain. No matter what, I gave the final exams and passed with first division. I didn’t get the percentage that I’d have liked but got the good results. After that I was still recovering from depression. I rallied to continue studying higher studies. I always kept fighting and kept doing things to the best of my ability no matter how harsh the situation was.
    After some years I finished my college studies in Nepal. Later that year I won a Diversity Visa lottery and immigrated to USA. I kept my struggle on to this new world. Although the credit hours that I studied in Nepal was above 90 credit hours, I got credit for only 24 credit hours because of the difference in course and credit evaluation system and I had to redo most of the core classes. I graduated from Valencia College with 3.93 GPA and transferred to UCF. I am happy for what I have been doing so far and, in a way, I feel I am just inches away from one of my dreams of being graduated from one of the best University. Now I am in my junior year in Pre-Accounting and enjoying the atmosphere of University. Coming to this day I don’t take anything for granted and I believe hard work, perseverance and dedication would guide us to prosperous future. Fortune favors the brave ones. Therefore, we must face the challenges in our life and keep doing what we are supposed to do.

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