Red Lights & Failures


Those who identify as achievers get fulfilment from creating projects and completing tasks. We love the feeling of success and go from one project to the next in search of our future victory.

Though what's true among achiever personalities, is that our biggest fear is failure.

We're taught from a young age that making a mistake is wrong.

Get enough questions wrong on a test, and you fail.

Fail enough tests, and you have to repeat a year in school.

Some of us may have failed a class, a school project, a student election, or even on an early stage start-up. Unfortunately, that ugly feeling of failure that creeps up from your gut, and through your esophagus is something you don't forget.

It's easy to say, "don't give up!"

"Pick yourself back up!"

But once you've laid everything on the line, and lost it, failure has a different meaning.

And so, today, half of us fear failure so much, that we don't try. We count ourselves out and justify it. The other half fears failure that they stop halfway, set the bar lower, to avoid the risk of losing what they have.

Our fear of failure has led us to mediocracy.

But, what if we looked at failure like the red lights that we have to stop at on our way to work, home, your dream vacation? Where you've got to wait a few minutes, and then keep driving. Or a detour construction sign, that forces you to take an alternative route?

Here's a list of a few of my red lights in the past eight years:

2010 Lost $2500 at a fundraiser for BGCO Flag Football Tournament Fundraiser

2011 Launched the Future Community Builders Program that engaged less than 5 students

2012 Launched FYBY #iThink Social Media Campaign that was barely noticeable

2013 Failed to get elected for CUSA Council

2014 Failed Third Year ECON Class in University

2015 Embarrassed Nationally with CUSA: I'm Gonna Vote

2016 CUSA: Student Union Building

2017 Frank is a Phone

2018 (SJ) Student Union Executive Training

Better yet, here's a list of some of the most famous red lights in history:

Henry Ford failed and went broke five times before he finally succeeded.

Babe Ruth, considered by sports historians to be the greatest athlete of all time and famous for setting the home run record, also holds the record for strikeouts.

Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor for lack of ideas. Walt Disney also went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland.

Eighteen publishers turned down Richard Rach’s 10,000-word story, Jonathan Livingston Seagull before Macmillan finally published it in 1970. By 1975 it had sold more than seven million copies in the U.S. alone.

Abraham Lincoln was defeated in eight elections; before he went on to liberate the United States of America.

I'm not saying you have to fail.

I'm asking what decisions would you make differently if you thought of failures as red lights?

Shoot your shot.

3 views
  • YouTube - Black Circle
  • Twitter - Black Circle
  • Instagram - Black Circle
  • Facebook - Black Circle

© 2018 by Fahd Alhattab​