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A Lesson in Happiness Through the Acceptance of Failure

"UCSB Student Blog" - Big Head Bob & Friends Blog - "Failing organic chemistry was a blow to my academic aspirations and left me feeling discouraged." A girl in a lab coat is studying chemistry in a school laboratory.

Embracing Failure: A Lesson in Happiness and Personal Growth

Failing organic chemistry was a blow to my academic aspirations and left me feeling discouraged. I had put in countless hours of studying and sacrificed social activities in the pursuit of success. However, the universe seemed to have a different plan for me. As I reflected on my failure, I began to realize that sometimes, things don't work out the way we want them to, no matter how hard we try. It was a tough pill to swallow, but it taught me an invaluable lesson about accepting failure.

In the aftermath of my setback, I questioned my motivations and goals, wondering if they were truly aligned with my passions and desires. I came to the realization that I had been chasing “success” for the wrong reasons. Expectations of parents, family, society, and my own pride were blinding me from what truly mattered in life—my own happiness. The failure made me realize that while not everything is going to be easy, the hard things should at least feel worth it.

This newfound perspective led me to redefine my priorities. Instead of obsessing over academic validation and constantly striving for achievements, I’m focusing on cultivating a life filled with joy and contentment. Instead of focusing on what I can do to make more money in my future job, I explored my passions of gardening and art, pursuing hobbies that brought me fulfillment, and nurtured meaningful relationships. I learned to embrace failure as a stepping stone towards self-discovery and to be unapologetically true to myself. 

In that journey, I found happiness. I understood that I didn't have to keep pushing myself in a direction I didn't genuinely want to go. Even more so, I learned that you are going to be better at things that you enjoy doing. In order to achieve my goals, I still needed to take this class, but the change in perspective helped me succeed. However, I changed my major to something that is more aligned with my interests and abilities. 


While it can be hard some days to accept that I am not the straight A science whiz in college that I was in high school, I go through my day trying to treat myself as if I were a friend. I try to counter thoughts about what I “SHOULD” be doing by asking what I CAN be doing. When Bob had problems, he worked with them, not against them. Working with Big Head Bob is more aligned with my interests and values, and I feel confident that I’m living my life as I want to.