Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, “The heights of great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward through the night.” When I was learning to write cursive, this was one of the quotations that I had to write over and over again, and to this day, it is ingrained in my brain. As I got older I realized how deep and meaningful these words were and I use the quotation as often as I see necessary to encourage and uplift others and myself who may read whatever I write. It encourages me to set goals, strive for the best, persevere and set standards, and finish whatever I have started, and most of all NEVER give up!!

Throughout my life I have had failures – failed exams, failed relationships, failed interviews, failed lesson plans or lessons taught, failed friendships, heartaches, heartbreaks, among others. What have I learned from these disappointments? I have learned things about me that I didn’t know before and I have learned to set the bars higher at times and reach again for my goals. Another lesson learned from my failures is how to be confident.  Failure shows me that I need to fight even when the road seems rocky. My shortcomings are temporary setbacks, but I can move forward. I can use my failures to reach out to others and encourage them and say, “I was there and this is what I did, and look where it got me!”  I got over the hurdles and I’m going to the finish line.

From the ‘failure” experiences, I have learned that, like the Greek philosopher Plutarch said, “What I achieve inwardly will change outer reality. “  I can give of my time to students, co-workers, and others I come in contact with when needed.  Even when I experienced nausea and gut wrenching pain, I am still willing to help and show acts of kindness.

I have realized that I am a survivor and each time I have to dig deeper to float above water. As a non-swimmer who loves water, I know I can sit, relax, meditate and listen to the sound of the water, but not submerge. I know my limits! I know how to persevere and I can help those who need help to persevere! I have been acquainted with failure and I know it is not fun, but I channeled my energy to achieving! I realize that attitude is more important than aptitude and I AM disciplined!