“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Live in fear of failure – unable to wholeheartedly realize my potentials and relentlessly pursue my dream.

My first experience of failure took place when I was in the third grade. Two weeks after winning a spot in a school show, I was asked, in front of the entire cast, to give up my role because I was not improving fast enough despite my efforts. The embarrassment and disappointment I felt burned a deep scar in my memory. Since then I have always sought to protect myself from failing – choosing a slightly easier class for a better grade and a bit less challenging job assignment for a higher evaluation.

HBS was supposed to be my ultimate safety net that would protect me from ever falling down again. To my surprise, I failed more here than I have ever done elsewhere– horrifying job interviews, bad exam grade, disappointing election result… the list goes on.

At first, I was devastated, asking intensely, "What good is HBS?" Slowly, the answer came as I watched my classmates bravely embrace the challenges each day brings. With every fall came a shrug and a smile saying "I gave my best and I will try again." This resilient spirit is what defines this place and its people. Together we knit the safety-net that keeps failure from entering our grounds.

When I arrived HBS, I thought I would find the definition of success. When I leave here I will have come to better understand the meaning of failure. But...

I am still afraid of failure,
so I must,
live fearlessly,
give all I can give,
be the best I can be,
love with all I have,
reach for the seemingly impossible dream,
because I know my safety-net will always catch me.

— Jialei Tian