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U.S. Navy SEAL (ret.) Diego Ugalde on the Life Lessons From Failure


Failing sucks, right? Especially when it’s public and other people know about it. Whether it’s missing the shot to lose the game, failing the test, getting busted for cheating, most of us try to avoid failure at all costs. A lot of times, our parents protect us from failing. They don’t want us to feel bad or to miss out.

But here’s the deal: if we don't fail, we’ll miss out on learning significant truths about life. 

We won't learn about persistence. We won't be able to discern what's actually most important. We won't be able to learn that our true worth comes from within, not from our reputation. We won't learn that we can handle hard things, and we will be predisposed to avoid taking risks. 

Once you learn to appreciate failure, the next time we’re freer to take the next shot, to bounce back from the D- and go to office hours, and own our mistakes to do better.

Diego Ugalde is a veteran with 15 years experience as a Navy SEAL. His career began in San Diego, CA in 1992 as a Hospital Corpsman in the hopes of becoming a SEAL but his plans unexpectedly changed when he was dropped four months into BUD/S training. After eight years of repentance over being unsuccessful, he trained his way back into shape. Despite separating his shoulder mid-way through, he was able to continue on and graduate with his Class 246. Diego was ultimately promoted to the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer, served three combat tours in Iraq, participated in over 250 highly classified combat and Advanced Special Operations missions.

He is a gifted leader highly experienced in mentoring and training multifaceted and multicultural teams and organizations. Diego was awarded four Navy Commendation Medals (with Combat Valor), three Navy Achievement Medals and one combat action ribbon.


Do you know?

For years we’ve been studying what a young person needs in order to transition into a healthy, thriving adulthood.  

They're uncommon sense ideas, really.

Download this checklist and use it with your students (or kids).

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