Unseen Passage: Failing is Educational

Have you ever failed at something so miserably that the thought of attempting to do it again was the last thing you wanted to do?

If your answer is yes, then you are “not a robot.” Unlike robots, we human beings have feelings, emotions, and dreams. We are all meant to grow and stretch despite our circumstances and our limitations. Flourishing and trying to make our dreams come true is great when life is going our way. But what happens when it’s not? What happens when you fail despite all of your hard work? Do you stay down and accept the defeat or do you get up again and again until you are satisfied? If you have a tendency to persevere and keep going then you have what experts call, grit.

Falling down or failing is one of the most agonizing, embarrassing, and scariest human experiences. But it is also one of the most educational, empowering, and essential parts of living a successful and fulfilling life. Did you know that perseverance (grit) is one of the seven qualities that have been described as the keys to personal success and betterment in society? The other six are: curiosity, gratitude, optimism, self-control, social intelligence, and zest. Thomas Edison is a model for grit for trying 1,000 plus times to invent the light bulb. If you are reading this with the lights on in your room, you know well he succeeded. When asked why he kept going despite his hundreds of failures, he merely stated that what he had been not failures. They were hundreds of ways not to create a light bulb. This statement not only revealed his grit but also his optimism for looking at the bright side.

Grit can be learned to help you become more successful. One of the techniques that helps is mindfulness. Mindfulness is a practice that helps the individual stay in the moment by bringing awareness of his or her experience without judgement. This practice has been used to quiet the noise of their fears and doubts. Through this simple practice of mindfulness, individuals have the ability to stop the self-sabotaging downward spiral of hopelessness, despair, and frustration.

What did you do to overcome the negative and self-sabotaging feelings of failure? Reflect on what you did, and try to use those same powerful resources to help you today.

Q. On the basis of your reading of the passage, answer the following questions in about 30-40 words each.

  1. According to the passage, what are the attributes of a human?
  2. What is perceived as grit?
  3. How is ‘failing’ an educational and empowering part of human life?
  4. In what ways can grit be developed?


  1. According to the passage, grit, curiosity, gratitude, optimism, self-control, social intelligence and zest are the attributes of a human.
  2. If you have a tendency to persevere and keep going, we have what experts call grit.
  3. Failing teaches us how to be perseverant and keep going for one’s goals. Each failure makes one understand what to do and what not to do.
  4. We should not accept defeat. Instead we should make efforts to overcome our limitations, and not to stay down. Thus, we can develop grit.

Q. On the basis of your reading of the above passage, answer the following.

  • The synonym of ‘continue’ as given in paragraph 2 is __________.
    • robots
    • accept
    • persevere
    • flourish
  • The synonym of ‘distressing’ as given in paragraph 3 is ____________.
  • The antonym of forbidding as given in para 3 is ______________.
    • fulfilling
    • agonizing
    • empowering
    • looking
  • The antonym of ‘heedlessness’ as given in para 4 is ____________.


  1. persevere
  2. agonizing
  3. empowering
  4. mindfulness

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