Last week BYU had a forum where Edwin Catmull, President of Pixar Animation, came and spoke to us. I look back and laugh because the events that happened following that forum had me looking at life thinking there’s no way I can accomplish my dreams.
In his address Catmull had many great one-liners, my favorite was: “If you aren’t failing you aren’t trying new things.” Little did I know this was foreshadowing the failure that awaited on my horizon.
I went to Chinese class and I failed. Big time. So big in fact I knew at that moment my ability to speak this language did not mean I was anywhere near being capable of reading and writing at a 200 college class level. After talking to my teacher and an advisor I decided to withdraw from the class. Technically it’s not failing, but at that very moment I felt like a failure. All my studying hadn’t paid off and I was no longer a full-time student. I also decided I wasn’t going to minor in Chinese anymore. What am I going to do with my life now?
“If you aren’t failing you aren’t trying new things.”
The words rung through my ears throughout the day. Then at the end of the night after salsa dancing with my boyfriend, he grabbed my hand and we ran outside, like Ben being chased by Jerry (an old cartoon reference for those of you sitting there like...ummm?). We stopped abruptly in front of a sign by the library and he asked me to read it out loud. My heart caught in my throat, as I choked out, “You can do hard things.”
I can do hard things. We can all do hard things. Life is about making mistakes and learning from them. Catmull also said, “We don’t look backwards for excuses we look backwards for lessons.”
Sure I didn’t make it in Chinese 201, but you know what? I’m going to make it in Chinese 112 and I am going to figure out a way to change the world as I learn from each failure.
As Remy, from Ratatouille, said, “The only thing predictable about life is its unpredictability.”