Why failure is the key to success



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You have to break a couple nail polish bottles to find your true colors.

Before you do a double take, I promise you did read that correctly! Sometimes nail polish bottles must be destroyed to find yourself. Or at least they did in order for me to begin down the path of design. To explain how I destroyed some nail polish bottles (and why you should too), I’ll start this blog post off by explaining what happened in the classroom of room 115 my sophomore year of high school.

It was the day of my midterm presentation. I was presenting my double page spread that I had completed for the school newspaper. It was about the psychology of color and was meant to be a two-page long infographic that would catch the eye of readers and teach them all about important aspects of the spectrum of color we see. While presenting I remember a girl raising her hand and looking at me rather confused. When I called on her she asked, “What are the boxes at the top suppose to be?”

They were supposed to be nail polish bottles!

However, the blue, purple and pink bottles I thought I had creatively incorporated into my infographics were seen as useless boxes to a room full of confused faces. As for the rest of my presentation, I would have rathered clean up a mess of dried nail polish on the ground then deal with the humiliation of messing up an infographic I had worked hard on.

I tell this story not to force myself though eternal humiliation (for the internet is forever haha). But, in order to share my belief that failure is vital to being successful. Looking back now, two years later and a college student at Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism, I am deeply grateful that I was made aware that my infographic was dreadful, for many reasons

  1. I learned what an infographic shouldn’t look like (which is one step closer to knowing what one should look like)
  2. It made me realize I had a lot to learn but that I wanted to be educated in design
  3. I learned that design takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and practice
  4. It has now taught me that where you start is not where you end
  5. It taught me that taking on something that you are unqualified in and embracing it is a key skill for growth and success

For those wondering if this story has a happy ending? It does! Luckily, thanks to the help of some great friends (who are also great designers) they were able to help point me (metaphorically and literally with the pointer on Adobe InDesign) in the right direction. My work ended up being published in one of the newspaper editions, and throughout my time on staff at Sycamore High School I learned fundamental skills for page design and creating infographics.

Now, as a college freshman, I find the foundation I learned in high school has helped me progress in college. By combining the opportunities to work on staff for “The Leaf” for four years, take multiple art classes and have the chance to take a design workshop the summer before my freshman year of college, I was able to grow mentally as an artist.

I hope that this story isn’t seen as just a funny failure (while yes you can laugh with me now if you want!) but as a message to all that you can grow in whatever struggle you are currently facing. Whether it’s learning design, trying to master a sport, struggling in academics or a social hurdle, you can succeed!

I know I still have a lot more to learn about design, but you can’t get beautiful colors on your nails without taking the time to carefully paint them.

I hope you all enjoy painting and creating a masterpiece of whatever you are going through! And don’t worry if you accidentally break a couple nail polish bottles on the way there.

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