Optimism Can Turn Failure into Success

(Editor’s note: Every year, Optimist International hosts an essay contest and students in Pacific Palisades are invited to participate. The winning entry is then sent to the District contest. Keira Wood, an eighth grader at Corpus Christi, read her winning essay at an Optimist breakfast in February. The theme this year was “Is Optimism the Key to Achieving the Dreams You Imagine?” If our country every needed optimism, it’s now and Keira’s piece is inspiring.)

Keira Wood, who took first place in the Optimist essay contest, attended a meeting with her parents Brian and Alice.


Envision every innovation made over the eons humans have walked the Earth. From the wheel to electric light to the Internet, the world would not be where we are today without these countless advancements for our species.

However, none of these inventions were produced without failure.

The inventors persevered through a myriad of obstacles to achieve their goal. All innovators that ever existed have had to possess a singular quality to achieve their goals: optimism.

Optimism is the tendency to look on the favorable side of events and hope for the most beneficial outcome.

With progression comes failure, and the way to succeed is by looking on the brighter side and focusing on what can become from mistakes. Optimism is key to achieving the dreams I imagine because, without optimism, failure would be the death of all because no one would have the motivation to improve.

Optimism is a vital part of overcoming obstacles because it helps me to see the possibilities in every failure. Not only does optimism encourage me to keep my head up when I don’t succeed, but it also provides meme with endless possibilities that are available to me when I fail.

Famous failures, such as Thomas Edison, Steven Spielberg, Albert Einstein and Michael Jordan, took advantage of opportunities that came out of failure. These people seem successful, but if you look back on their lives, it is most certainly the opposite.

Thomas Edison was told by his teachers that he was “too stupid to learn anything.” He preserved, however, and went on to become one of the most renowned inventors in history.

Similarly, although his work in the cinematic world generated more than $9 billion, Steven Spielberg was rejected from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, twice.

Steven didn’t end his love of movies when he was rejected, but instead decided to prove himself by creating a dynasty in the movie-making empire.

Albert Einstein’s name is “synonymous with intelligence,” and he is known as one of the smartest people ever to walk the Earth. However, as a child and early teen, Albert was thought to be mentally handicapped. He overcame the obstacles of public criticism and became one of the most famous scientists ever.

Also, Michael Jordan, probably the most talented basketball players of all time, was cut from his high school roster. Most people would have quit basketball, convincing themselves that they shouldn’t even have tried out. Michael took the opposite direction and went on to the NBA to win six National Championships and five MVP’s.

His famous quote illustrates the power of optimism in working towards goals: “. . .I have failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” His failures were role models for using optimism to surmount problems and conquer goals.

Optimism is a key factor in reaching dreams. Similarly, to Michael Jordan, I “have failed over and over again my life.” Whether it’s not making the varsity team for sport or losing an academic competition, there have been countless times in my life where I felt like I never should have even tried.

However, after each one of these times, I have gained the determination to try again, come back harder, and not be afraid of failure.

For example, my soccer team participates in a major tournament every year called State Cup. We had won all of our games and made it to the finals of the tournament.

Our team had practiced every day in the subsequent weeks, preparing for the final game. Unfortunately, the other team ended up beating us 1-0 and we were eliminated from the tournament. We had put in so much work and didn’t receive any profit.

At the next practice we were rewarded for our hard work. The coach had arranged for us to scrimmage the team that we had lost to in the finals.

We reached our goal, beat the team, and showed that we could succeed. This experience taught me that no matter what problems you face, optimism and hard work will always overcome them.

Optimism provides the determination to improve humanity’s creations. It forces perseverance even when it feels as though there is no hope. With optimism and hard work hand in hand, I know I will always be triumphant over any problems that are thrown at me. Optimism is the key to the doors of opportunity that failure tries to close.


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