Embracing Failure: The Fifth Pillar of the NHS

Last night I had the privilege of watching 10 students of Brent International School become ceremoniously inducted into the National Honours Society. It’s wonderful to witness some of the brightest high school students we have being recognised for their tremendous efforts and dedication to the school over the years.


As the students were being introduced their lengthy list of accomplishments was shared with the family, faculty, and friends in attendance. It became immediately clear that these students are truly very special individuals in our Brent community. They occupy positions of leadership such as President and founding member of “Tech for Teaching”, a program that collects, refurbishes, and distributes used computers for the benefits of local elementary schools in the Philippines. Or, they are members of student council, while heading up the Green Earth club, Project Compassion, and are also members of the National Thespian Society. These students have been very successful throughout their high school careers.

Then, our beloved headmaster began his guest speaker responsibilities by highlighting failure. What? Failure? Does he not know that this is a night to celebrate the success of being inducted into the NHS which is, as the name implies, is a tremendous honour!

In reality I was nodding my head with each of his opening points, as I could see where he was rightfully headed. The message he was about to make clear was that by embracing failure we help pave the way toward future success! The idea that failure is a required ingredient in the recipe of success is not a new concept, yet I feel it is still not being embraced the way it ought to be.

By embracing failure we help pave the way

toward future success!

As our headmaster pointed out during his time at the podium, what we learn from failure is not only the key to success, but it’s also fundamentally essential. I cannot succeed unless I have first learned from my failures. If I create a thousand works of pottery my last pot is surely going to be the best!


After a quick glance at the newly inducted NHS members, and their nodding heads, I could tell that they too understood the message. No doubt they were recalling the lessons they have learned as a result of failure. Reflecting on the knowledge gained that led them to be recognised for their success this evening.

Failure should be celebrated, not feared! Without learning from our past mistakes we would never be able to realise success.

Congratulations to the Brent NHS inductees for the year 2015. May you embrace failure while you continue to strive for and achieve success! I finish with some inspiring words by an incredible individual who embraced failure as a tool from which to learn.

“I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan


flickr photo by Inspiyr http://flickr.com/photos/inspiyr/9670184597 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-ND) license

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“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.”

- John Maxwell

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