Views #1226 | Intermediate (B1)

Success and Failure

Julia and Todd discuss when it is good to succeed and why sometimes failure is a good thing.

Todd: We're talking about education and about, you know, people applying themselves and giving grades and giving praise and stuff like that. Have you ever thought that maybe we, because we're both teachers, both of us are teachers, that maybe we put too much effort on judging everybody and that maybe it's OK for kids to realise failure is not really a bad thing or maybe quitting is not a bad thing?

Julia: Absolutely. Yeah, I think, I think all the emphasis should be put on the effort that people make and yeah the failing or succeeding is kind of secondary to that.

Todd: Because it does seem that we push kids at all levels to get good grades, go to college, get that good job and that, that usually works out but in a lot of cases people find success because they fail, because they don't do well and that leads them to something else in life. So I guess, I'm not saying don't try, just quit at everything, but that we have to just accept that actually maybe quitting is not such a bad thing.

Julia: No, I don't think it is. No, I think you're working, that's all part of the learning process, working out what. I was lucky. I was given very good advice at school and I wasn't pushed to get good grades, I wasn't pushed to pursue a career. The advice I was given was do what you enjoy doing cos they're the things you'll be good at.

Todd: Yeah.

Julia: And that was great advice. I don't have a career but I'm happy.

Todd: There you go. There was a great quote the other day by someone in the paper about starting your own business and the person said, you know, follow your passion and keep at it and the money will follow and I think that's pretty much the case for a lot of people that, you know, that they find success. It's kind of how it worked out for me with the website actually. So Elllo, I did it for years, I didn't make any money and now it makes a little money but I just enjoyed it. I kept doing it, I kept doing it and I think that's kind of the key. Don't stop.

Julia: There's that other famous quote about doing what makes you come alive. Don't ask what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive because the world needs people who've come alive, meaning like pursue your passion and that will lead to success, whatever success means. It's the way we define success as well is also part of the problem.

Todd: True, true.

Julia: You know, high income, is that success? And in my book that's not what success is. Success is happiness.

Todd: So what is happiness?

Julia: Happiness is just contentment, absolute peace with the way you are right now and what you're doing right now. Not striving or yearning for things that are beyond your grasp.

Todd: Beyond your reach?

Julia: Yeah.

Todd: Yeah, that's good.

Learn Vocabulary from the Lesson



I think that all the emphasis should be put on the effort that people make.

The 'emphasis' of something is its focus. Notice the following:

  1. The emphasis of this class is improving your writing.
  2. Her parents put a lot of emphasis on good grades.



I wasn't pushed to pursue a career.

If you 'pursue' something, you make a huge effort to attain or get it. Notice the following:

  1. Most children now pursue a higher education after high school.
  2. He has been romantically pursuing her for years now.



There was a great quote the other day by someone in the paper.

A 'quote' is something important or profound that was said by someone else. Notice the following:

  1. Have you heard the quote about patience?
  2. All of her notebooks in middle school were covered with quotes and song lyrics.

come alive


There's that other famous quote about doing what makes you come alive.

Something that makes you 'come alive' makes you very animated and excited. Notice the following:

  1. Fashion is something that really makes her come alive.
  2. It fun to watch kids come alive when they discover something they are passionate about.



Pursue your passion, and that will lead to success.

'Your passion' is something that you are very interested in and makes you excited to be a part of. Notice the following:

  1. Music is definitely his passion.
  2. Is exercise a passion, or do you do it for your health?



Happiness is just contentment.

When you have 'contentment,' you are satisfied. Notice the following:

  1. I have finally found a level of contentment in my life.
  2. Dogs have such a look of contentment when they are outside and running.

striving / yearning / beyond your grasp


It's about peace and not striving or yearning for things that are beyond your grasp.

Something that is 'beyond your grasp' is not possible for your to attain or achieve. When you 'strive' towards something, you are making an intense effort to reach a goal. If you are 'yearning' for something, you really want it and you think a lot about how much you want it. Notice the following:

  1. You say that you want to improve, but I don't see that you are striving for it.
  2. She spent most of her pregnancy yearning for ice cream.
  3. It always feels like the solution to all of these problems is just beyond my grasp.

Vocabulary Quiz

emphasis • pursuing • quote
alive • passion • contentment • grasp
  1. If working with children really makes you come , then that is what you should do.
  2. Finding is very challenging for her, because she always wants more.
  3. It is important to have goals that are not beyond your .
  4. I didn't know that you were a medical degree.
  5. You put too much on money.
  6. Most of his speeches end with a for you to think about.
  7. Painting is his .
Answer the following questions about the interview.

Try These Lessons

1228 Chilean Movie
1230 New Gym
Rebecca gets info about the new gym.

1228 Chilean Movie
1229 Nadam
Chugi talks about a Mongolian holilday.

1228 Chilean Movie
1228 Chilean Movie
Daniel talks about a popular movie from Chile.

1150 Urban Plannning
1227 Indonesian Movie
Vella talks about a movie she really enjoyed.

1226 Success and Failure
1226 Success and Failure
Julia and Todd discuss if failure is a good thing.
Courses for Students and Teachers

One Minute English Videos

Views English Lessons

Mixer English Lessons

Learn Academic English with News Stories

About the Teacher / Creator

Hello, and welcome to elllo. My name is Todd Beuckens. I've been an ESL teacher for 25 years. I created elllo to provide teachers and students free audio lessons and learning materials not usually found in commercial textbooks.
Contact Me Here