After pooling together the wisdom of my elders (my parents) and myself I think I’ve determined the three setbacks that everyone should experience.
A failed relationship. This advice came from my Mum. Prior to my Dad she dated a lanky blonde called Owen. He was a laid back architect and from the photos I’ve seen, rather handsome. They were together for three or four years and moved in together. Everything seemed like it was on the right track, but she had doubts. Whilst his calm demeanour suited her, his lack of motivation was frustrating. Then she met my speedy little father, with sky-high ambitions and things started to make sense. Without having been with Owen my Mum could never have been sure if Dad was the right fit for her.
This second one comes from me, a failed friendship. By this I don’t mean someone you spoke to twice at university, I mean someone you thought you would never be without. It’s not just the romantic relationships that teach you life lessons, friends are equally influential. Some are toxic and over time you will start to know which ones to let go of. After losing a close friend, you understand yourself a little bit better and the types of people you wish to surround yourself with.
A failed career choice. This one is brought to you by my Dad and I. Both of us suffered from career delusion – he believed he was destined to be a famous flautist and I thought I was born to be a lawyer. In hindsight, we both would have been horrible in these roles. He would have been bored out of his mind and I would have been out of my depth.
See setbacks are completely normal and necessary; they’re how we learn and change. Without experiencing failure you’ll be riddled with uncertainty as it will be impossible for you to know if you’re doing something right. Once you’ve failed the first time, you’ll stop being so paranoid about it. It’s really not so bad. Failure is a necessary part of the human condition and a testament to who we are and what we can overcome.