No failure……..only feedback

In last month’s blog I wrote about what it feels like to pass exams so in the interests of balance I thought we should look at what happens if you don’t pass.

One good thing about failing is that you are in good company.

Sir Tim Rice, the Academy, Golden Globe, Tony, Grammy award winning lyricist has along with Andrew Lloyd Webber written some of the world’s most popular musicals. They include, Joseph and his amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ superstar, Evita to name but a few. Tim was doing pretty well academically having gained A-Levels in History and French. Perhaps surprisingly he chose not to go to university but instead started work as an articled clerk for a law firm in London, Pettit and Westlake with a view that he would become a solicitor. However after 3 attempts to pass his law exams Tim gave up.

Realising he was a complete failure Tim decided that he would settle for what he had. He spent the rest of his life working for others who were far clever than him. And although many thought he had a particular gift with words Tim never had the confidence to take that gift any further.

Of course I have made the last paragraph up. But how different Sir Tim Rice’s life might have been had he sat back and let his exam failure dictate his future.

In 1895 aged 17, Albert Einstein failed his first college entrance exam at Zurich Polytechnic.

Sir Winston Churchill, author, artist, statesman, and prime minister of England failed the entrance exams for the Royal Military College not once, but twice.

Sir Tim Rice, Einstein and Winston Churchill all failed exams yet they did not let the failure define them as individuals. They all went on either to try again and succeed (Einstein and Churchill) or as in Sir Tim’s case do something very different. He joined EMI as a management trainee, and through this ultimately met Andrew Lloyd Webber. And that’s the point, we all have to deal with failure, sometime you need to work twice as hard and give it another go, other times recognise that a change in direction is needed. Either way keep going, failing an exam is not the end of the world and in the grand scheme of things means very little. I am sure that when Sir Tim looks back he is probably very glad he never became a lawyer, and so are thousands of music lovers all over the world.

One thought on “No failure……..only feedback

  1. That is so true, we all have a spark of something in us, some are good at passing exams, others music, some manual work etc.

    Sir Tim is a really amazing man, in fact we interviewed him for our podcast last week, if only I could do a fraction of the things he has done in his life!


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