I'm a big proponent of the transformative power of failure. Failure is nature's way of saying "Don't do that any more!", and is therefore a necessary part of achievement and innovation. And so I'm inclined to like this speech very much.
On the other hand, something niggles me about the end:
So here is the point: you are going to meet the dragon of failure in your life. You may not get into the school you want, or you may get kicked out of the school you are in. You may get rejected by the girl of your dreams, or, God forbid, get into an accident beyond your control. But the point is, everything happens for a reason. At the time, it may not be clear. And certainly the pain and the shame are going to be overwhelming and devastating. But as sure as the sun comes up, there will come a time on the next day or next week or next year when you will grab that sword and tell him "Be gone, dragon."
This seems like a pretty safe bet when you're talking to Buckley students, who have an ample safety net underneath them to allow them to bounce back from nearly any failure. But would he really say this to, say, a 55 year old man who'd just been fired from his sales job? Bad things--persistent bad things--happen to good people, and while it's comforting to think of them as merely a waystation, for lots of people that isn't really true. It only seems true to people who have been spectacular successes, because for them every failure actually just one more step towards the happy place they enjoy today. Sure, you can always rise over adversity. But a significant number of people will never again rise to the level they previously enjoyed.
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