There is something to be learned from failure. Every setback is a stepping stone, and every unforeseen obstacle is a step to climb in order to better yourself. At least these are the things I keep telling myself.
I have been feeding an idea of mine for quite some time now – an invention. I wanted to create an umbilical clamp that was infused with an antiseptic to reduce the staggering neonatal mortality rates in rural areas due to umbilical cord infections. I had an idea and began sprinting with it, without a single doubt or question in my mind (Lesson one). I began reaching out to anyone and everyone I could, which led me on some crazy adventures. From sitting at a conference table in front of the board of the University Invention Office (they mistook me for faculty), to meeting with one of the most influential physicians in Global Health, I grabbed any strings for help and advice that I could. Then, in the blink of an eye, I found the patent.
Another medical student invented my device 6 years ago.
A medical student, just like me, with the same vision and idea in mind, revolutionized neonatal global health. He won an impressive amount of money and awards and started a company selling the devices, and is now a surgical fellow at Standford. I can’t describe the feeling of disappointment that has developed after this discovery, except maybe a lead bowling ball sitting in my chest. The endless hours and weeks I spent researching mechanisms and designs for my idea, the countless emails trying to reach out to someone who could steer me in the right direction, and the looming workload of lecture material that continuously piled on top of me while I replaced studying with research and meetings – all for nothing (or so it seems).
And then I heard my mother’s words: “You know Morgan, one day you will invent something else that will change this world, and some other little student will be exactly in your shoes.” She always has the most unique perspective on things. But she’s right – this isn’t the last problem I will try to tackle. There will be others, and some will fail, and I need to accept that. But other’s will thrive. And a thousand failures is worth one success that saves one life.