In the blur of everyday life, it's hard to see your self worth. It gets even more challenging when, like many students today, you get propelled into an atmosphere where you find yourself analysing yourself based on percentages, grade boundaries or the letter scrawled at the top of your test. It's exhausting, if you ask me, particularly when it's not what you want to see in the first place. Undeniably, it can be the best feeling ever when it is, and you've been working for months in an attempt to see that little letter handed to you on a flimsy piece of paper. Except when it isn't.
The first thing to accept, however, is that moment when you feel as if your whole life is failing before your eyes will happen to everyone at some point. There is no point in denying it. And it sucks. Big time. I'm not going to try to tell you that it's only one exam, or that you'll do better the next time, because I know how it is. That grade mattered to you, and no amount of condolences are going to change that. It's like the time I did my Grade 7 Ballet exam where I had such bad timing on a dance that I was positive I had failed. I'm not ashamed to say I felt horrible and could barely stand to hear the music being played again, particularly because I'd spent an entire year leading up to that moment, and I blew it.
At the end of the day, what matters is not what happened, but what you do with it. That's where the spark comes in. I swear nothing will ever improve your motivation (particularly when it's at an all time low) more than a little kick-start that tells you you don't suck as much you think you do. For me, that happened when I chose to perform at the summer festival of a little village in my home country, and ended with a girl asking me if I could teach her to dance like I had just done. It felt good, especially since I'd felt so disappointed with myself the month before. To me, it provided the little spark that I had been missing since that exam, and it motivated me to continue trying my best at everything I do.
The greatest thing I took from that, however, was that you have to create that spark. The performance I did was completely voluntary, and given what had happened it would have been no surprise for me to flat out refuse to perform. The good thing is, I'm a teensie bit impulsive, so I just threw myself into it. And it most definitely payed off, because it gave me the push of motivation I needed, and the reassurance that 'Hey, maybe I'm not that terrible." And let me promise you, we all need that sometimes. However, sitting around waiting is not going to help. You've got to fight through the bad times so that you can reach the good times.