Part IV: Overcoming Adversity

Joshua G., a University of Michigan Alumni and GREEN Ambassador, went on The GREEN Program in Iceland for our Summer Break program in August 2014. The following summer, he was brought back to Iceland as a GREEN Mentor. Joshua shares with us the importance of failure, why it is actually a sign of progress, and the imperitave need for each of us to identify our “why.” 

The importance of the first two sections of the GREEN preparation course cannot be overstated, so feel free to revisit them throughout your time abroad if you need a refresher in these topics. It is crucial for the leaders of tomorrow to possess an unshakable self-confidence as they work on innovations that will promote social change and combat climate change. By agreeing to help address such complex issues, you have inherently agreed to fail at some point. Failure is unavoidable. Each and every single one of us will fail, most likely on a daily basis. Some failures will be small, such as walking the wrong direction and pretending to get a phone call so you don’t look crazy. Other failures will be larger, such as the 2015 SpaceX landing attempt

"Those who do not fail are not truly testing their boundaries."

The problem with failure lies not within the failure itself, but our interpretation of it. Failure is too often diagnosed as a sign of weakness, instead of a sign of progress. Of course failure is not the desired outcome of a project, but it is a sign of innovation and forward thinking because those who do not fail are not truly testing their boundaries. It is expected for one  to have fears of failure, but to truly succeed you must be able to move past them. A setback is merely a setup for a comeback. 

Throughout each of your professional journeys, you will come across countless obstacles, seemingly-impassable barriers. As time progresses, failure may become more and more frequent and the thought of quitting will become increasingly enticing. During these times of struggle, it is crucial to draw fuel from your WHY.

When a person has a "why" that is bigger than themselves they can’t quit.

Your WHY will be your motivating force. WHY are you striving a goal? WHY are you working so hard? It will be different for everyone. For some, it may be to make their family proud, and for others it may be the opportunity to change the world. Everybody has goals. Everybody has dreams, but when a person has a WHY that is bigger than themselves they can’t quit. They can’t go home. There is something motivating them that is bigger than any obstacle they may face.

Part IV: Actionable Items:

  • Watch the video below, hightlighting the importance of self-motivation and determining your WHY factor (6 minutes):

Unbroken - Motivational Video

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