11/14/12: Failure & Rescue Response

What is failure? To most people, failure refers to a negative perceptive outlook on life. By definition, failure is a lack of success. Can failure be ambiguous? Well, according to “Failure and Rescue”, written by Atul Gawande, failure takes on multiple meanings and expectations. Despite the gloomy externalities of not succeeding, failure can teach one the importance of perseverance and how to properly react to any given situation.

Many people concern themselves to be bold and take risks. But what if those risks lead to failure? In the article, Gawande introduces how one reacts to tribulations in life is what defines the characteristics within a person. Either a person breaks down or they rise to occasion as a leader.   Due to the constant dynamics of the world, one has to adapt to a situation and respond accordingly. For example, Gawande inputs how the inattentive conduct of the rig crew during the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico led to the loss of eleven lives. If the crew responded to the recognition of an abnormal pressure increase instead of delaying a plan of action for two hours, there wouldn’t have been mourning families and a spillage of five million barrels of oil.

The beauty of being human is to be capable to reason. As a result, individuals should accept their failure and learn from their mistakes to improve themselves. Moreover, with failure, comes great responsibility. For instance, when Gawande had a patient at the hospital who suffered blindness from their eye, treatment was provided, which led to a temporary recovery. Afterwards, the patient developed abdominal problems, but due to the acuteness of a resident and the humble character of a surgeon, an evaluation was performed which recognized that the patient’s stomach had been twisted. In response, immediate surgery rescued the patient’s life. Meaning, the worst plan of action to avoid is to simply not do anything at all.

It is understandable that failure corresponding to many powerful emotional sentiments amongst people. Despite how much fear or anger an individual may have from not succeeding, it becomes a matter of how one controls their emotions. It is important to come to the conclusion that life will beat anyone down to their knees, but it’s about how much a person can take the punches and still keep moving forward to reach success. For example, I’ve come close to mentally breaking down during the first trimester of my junior year in high school due to having challenging classes, working ten hours a week and participating in sports in addition to constantly being sleep deprived. It’s been difficult, but the greater temptation I have from simply giving up, I look back to how much I’ve already succeeded and what lies ahead in my life. Essentially, as long as I put in my utmost effort, I will rescue myself from indifference and become content.

Overall, the value of failure is the reaction to it. Now, how will you handle failure?


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