What is Success in Life Essay Example
In life when we set out to achieve something, we are bound to fail before we experience success. Today, I will talk about the role failure plays in success by using a non-fictional speech as an example. In Shauna Baldwin’s speech; What I’ve Learned From Writing, she speaks about her struggles in becoming a writer and how she took those failures, turning them into success. Balwin brings the reader through the struggles in her life, step by step on how she became a writer but also what she learned from failure. The speech carries a sense of hope throughout, letting fellow writers know that failure and struggle is the key to success.
The speech begins with Baldwin reflecting on her school life and the meaning of ‘writing’ within the '70s in India. She recalls that back in school, her teachers believed literature was something that only occurred outside of their borders. Though she concludes, now as a writer, that borders, nor the elevated status of literature can restrict a writer's desire to write, highlighting already what writing has taught her in the introduction.
After her introduction, she then introduces the topic that her speech will delve into, which is her struggle, and her success. It shows this through the closing statement at the end of her paragraph,
“At writer’s conferences, we come to study the craft, we come to ask one another how we can pry open the door between our conscious and our subconscious, we come for reassurance that all our solitude and our word-wrestling is worthwhile. “
She explains in this sentence that the writers, much like herself come to these conferences for reassurance. Though they haven’t failed, perhaps they feel like they have, seeking other writers to reassure them that there is a success waiting. This paragraph and specifically the sentence gives the introduction of her speech a more clear beginning and highlights her themes of struggle and perseverance.
Within the next paragraph, she continues to speak of her struggle with failure, though this time, demonstrating how hard it was to start writing. She brings us back to a time where she had the desire to be a writer. She describes writing as something that is suffered through, again, highlighting the theme of failure. Though hidden in the paragraph is another compelling nod to what she has learned.
She says, “I wish I had known then, there is no original thought because all we humans think and feel has been thought and felt so many times before, by so many generations. There is only original perspective, there are only permutations of scenarios.”
Just before this sentence, she delves into a negative part of her journey, then adding the above statement to contradict her past thoughts. As seen in the previous paragraph when Baldwin talks about ‘literature’ in India, she places the same effect; beginning with struggle and ending with the conclusion that she learned from her hardship. This technique of contradiction tied to her past statements gives the readers and listeners exactly what they would expect from her title; what she has learned from writing. Not only does it show the meaning of the speech, but again highlights struggle into success.
Later on in the speech, she talks about her first non-fiction book, written by herself and a co-writer. Baldwin describes the writing of the novel as an arduous process, saying that she would have never written the book if she knew how hard it would be. Though earlier on in the paragraph she talks about how much writing the book taught her about herself. This contradiction is more self-aware. This time she talks about her success, in the beginning, highlighting the positives rather than the negatives, only after describing the process and struggle. Baldwin persevered through the process, knowing that she had something to say, to put out into the world, her passion trumping over inevitable failure, in which she touches on within the next paragraph.
Baldwin's next paragraph starts with what she learned,
"Begin with the desire to speak into silence, begin from passion."
This point that she makes is parallel to what she talked about in her previous statement; using passion to trump failure. In this paragraph, she then questions how she will make her writing memorable and who she will write for, searching for the answers within her friends. This statement brings us almost full circle from the beginning, in which she makes the statement, that during writer's conferences, they search for reassurance in their art. Her theme, being vulnerable in this moment of her speech, as she admits the parallels between her and the audience, making the theme of struggle to success, more relatable.
Another notable realization in this paragraph is her answer to these questions. She answers her questions, using the topic she began her speech with, her culture. She states that she writes in perspective of her cultures, that of a Canadian, American, and Indian. The most compelling thing about that sentence is her willingness to contribute being Indian to her art form of literature when in the beginning, she talks of growing up in a culture that renounced the elevated status of literature, in which her younger self felt like it was impossible to become a writer.