Setbacks and failures

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Winston S. Churchill

These words have always echoed in my head helping me through my toughest times. I have lived by this concept that I managed to turn every setback in my life into a comeback. 

Striving for perfection, prosperity and glory is important to lead a successful life. However, these driving desires for inner peace and tranquility often collide with each other rendering us all stressed out and frustrated. I personally believe that sometimes we need to cut ourselves some slack! We need to remember that life is a process. It should be taken step by step, just one thing after another. So when you lose a battle, it never means that you lost the war, and it is never too late to start all over again.

One of the main reasons why many of us remain hurried, stressed, and competitive is that we live life as if it was one huge race. We live in fear that if we become more relaxed and peaceful, we would stop being successful and become apathetic and losers. Well, you can rest assure that the exact opposite is true! Frantic thinking and stress take a huge amount of energy and drain creativity and motivation from our lives.

I have learned that the most important thing to keep in mind is that you can never win every battle. And stressing over this fact will only cause you to lose another one! When you are all zeroed in on every small setback and failure you are engaged in a losing battle. So, instead of focusing on imperfections make peace with them! Making peace with your mistakes and failures has nothing to do with ceasing to do your best at your job or school. It is actually an alternative way in which you see your failures as learning opportunities and ways to expand your perspective.

Whenever you catch yourself falling into the habit of stressing over something that went wrong, remind yourself that you are doing your best and that you are heading in the right direction, tell yourself, “Whoops, I have done it again! Well next time I’ll handle things differently!” This way you will not stress over this little setback and you will be all ready to get back on track but this time you have gained more knowledge about where you have gone wrong. When you adapt to this way of thinking and start making peace with yourself, you will discover a whole new attitude towards life’s unexpected challenges!

In the end, I just want you to remember these words: when you have your inner peace, you are less likely to be distracted by your desires, needs and concerns. It is thus easier to focus on achieving your goals.

About the author:

Hazem Da’doush, 23 years old, and a 6th year medical student in a 6-year program at Damascus University.

I have always considered myself as a Results-Driven, Focused and Visionary kind of person. Joining medical school was just the first step for me towards my dream of becoming a successful clinician.

Besides medicine, I’m an accomplished guitarist whose love for music has helped through a lot so far and will continue to do so! I believe that music can cross many barriers and connect people from all over the world regardless of their backgrounds or any other obstacles that might stand between us.

I have had the honor to play at the Syrian-European Business Center and so many other concerts that took place in the Opera House in Damascus.

I also have interest in medical research, evidence-based medicine and the latest technological discoveries.

Hazem may be reached at:

Contributing reviewers:

Tarek Turk, 6th year medical student in a six-year program at Damascus University, Syria. I have always seen myself as a clinician and a researcher, and have worked hard my entire life to achieve this goal. I believe that we were not meant to pass from this life without leaving a trace, and I decided to leave a trace in science. I have major interests in knowledge synthesis, Evidence-based healthcare, and linking medicine to artificial intelligence. Tarek may be reached at

Mahmoud Alkhatib, 6th year medical student in a 6-year program at Damascus University. I have been graded in the top ten students in the last four years, and have been awarded from the faculty. My interest in research has emerged in the third year, and since then I have started working with my colleagues on some projects to help make the future of our faculty. I will continue on this road since my goal is to be a good researcher who will make a change and leave his imprint.  Mahmoud may be reached at

Guest Authors Initiative:

The IIT Syrian student blog welcomes guest contributions from university students from Syria and around the globe.  To learn more about the Guest Authors Initiative, please contact Suhaib at 

Suhaib was born in Kamishli, Syria, and earned his bachelor’s degree in December 2014 from Illinois Institute of Technology’s Armour College of Engineering, with earlier studies at Aleppo University and Damascus University. Suhaib majored in Civil Engineering with a concentration in structural engineering. Upon graduation, he accepted a position as a project engineer working on projects throughout the state of Illinois; he lives in Springfield, Illinois. Suhaib previously worked with Jasmine Baladi Studio, an NGO that works to support Syrian children in refugee camps in Turkey. Suhaib regularly writes for the Syrian Students for a Better Future Blog.

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