Mind Capsule


Each memory of who we were in the past is kept neatly within its own mind capsule. The mind capsule is a treasure that holds lessons.

In the Mind Capsule columns, you will find tips and advice brought to you by individuals who are now looking back on their 20s and stating what they wish they had known then. These tips will expose you to the realities of growing up but also serve as a guide to paving your path towards adulthood.

Where To Begin

The first step that has to be made towards learning about yourself is all within the construction of your own life foundation. This foundation holds the lessons, experiences, and knowledge that make you who you are. You might ask, but how do you begin consciously creating this foundation? The answer is to begin listening to others’ experiences, absorbing their life lessons, and learning from them.

This week, I sat with one of FIT’s very own professors, Jeff Buchman of the Advertising and Marketing Communications department. One of the first topics we talked about was failure, along with tragedy and adversity, and how there is no escaping them.

Don’t Be Afraid

Focusing on failure, I began to think about young people, including myself, who reject it, or even reject the opportunity to fail. Why does failing seem so scary? Are we afraid of what other people may think, or that failure will define who we are?

Buchman emphasized the importance of failure and how individuals who are afraid to fail are subconsciously holding themselves back from learning valuable lessons or even success itself.

What do you think about failure?

“If at the end of your life, you say, ‘well, I have never failed at anything,’ it means you haven’t tried hard enough,” Buchman said. “You don’t learn about life from good things that happen; you learn about life from the bad things that happen … you learn from how you, as an individual, cope with tragedy, with failure, and with adversity.”

You need to embed into your mind that failure is necessary and that there is no success without failure. By being able to see failure in a positive light, you open yourself up to more opportunities. Finally, you can experience failure, reflect on it, and change yourself.

Do you have a favorite failure?

Failures are, however, painful: I asked Buchman about a favorite failure, but he answered generally. Instead of specific failures, he told me about the causes of his failures: “I thought I could do things better than everyone else, which is, of course, a mistake, but that’s a mistake of youth. I didn’t trust people, which at some point you have to let go.”   

The important lesson I learned from Buchman avoiding the specifics of his own failures, is that even though failures are essential for learning from your mistakes, it’s okay for them hurt. We should understand and be aware of the marks that failure leaves on individuals. If you wish to keep them tucked away for yourself, then so be it.

Buchman continued by saying, “From failing I realized that I needed to depend on people more … I needed to get people around me who were better than me at certain things, and who I could trust.”

This took Buchman years of accumulated failures to finally understand the essence of being a team player. Buchman said that this revelation helped him immeasurably throughout his career.   

The process that encompasses failure, tragedy, and adversity is change itself.  In order to grow through life, you must accept the inevitability of change.

Do you think that a skill that everyone should work on achieving is being okay with change?

Buchman emphasized: “You’ve got to be okay with change. If you’re not okay with change, I don’t know what to tell you. Change is part of life… you’ve got to love and embrace change… If you’re resistant to change, you shouldn’t be in New York.”

While talking to Buchman I came to the realization that there will be a time in your life where you need a change in a situation, whether that be a job or a relationship, or else your life will become a numbing existence.

Buchman strongly believes this too: “The moment you realize that your job isn’t fun, or you’re not learning anything, or you’d rather be doing something else– that is the moment to change. I can’t tell you how many times I have observed people just falling into this rut saying,  ‘I’m going to change next year,’ then they wake up and they’re 40 years olds asking themselves what happened.”

Not only does this have to do with change, but it has to do with finding your passion.  

So knowing who you are now, what would you tell your 20-year-old self?

“Follow your passion. Find out what you’re passionate about, and you have to look into yourself for that.”

Clarifying, Buchman continued: “…to the extent where you would say ‘I’m going to get up every morning saying I can’t wait to go to work because I’m so excited or I’m so enthusiastic about it’.”

He added, “I have always thought that the worst thing in the world would be to wake up in the morning dreading going to work.”

Without failure, there is no success. Without passion, there is no drive. Without change, there is no growth.

As Jeff Buchman said, “Change is your friend.”  I’d encourage you to make failure and passion your friends too.