What is failure? As the old proverb goes failures are pillars of success.Only a person who tries to do something will taste success and in trying to do , one may encounter obstacles too.Our life is full of surprises.Grab these moments.These moments make the game of life interesting .
Swami Vivekananda,the great philosopher said,”Take risks in life.If you win,you can lead.If you lose,you can guide”.
The fear of failure should not stop us from doing new things.It is a ladder to success and once you get,happiness comes your way.
Failure often begins at birth.You are female.That’s enough.You are not wanted.You have failed your family.Oops!Wrong gender.Now what?.
I guess this is the story of every Indian household.Thankfully it was not in my case.I had a liberal upbringing.
My failures began since the day I started going to school.I was not very good at sums.My teacher who was of a grandmother’s age would beat me very harsh and slap me every time I’d make mistakes and flunked.At such a tender age getting such a harsh punishment is the worst thing about your childhood.Whenever I flunked it was reported to my father and my brother who was very bright and they were called up.The meet was frightening.I was humiliated for my academic inadequacy.I felt miserable and depressed.My father always assured me that I will do much better next time.He was very very strict teacher but never scold me for my mistakes ever.But I cried a lot.Sometimes,I would fall sick.It’s a privilege for everyone to attend a school but I was always afraid to go to school.I was petrified everyday I went school.I failed,I failed,I failed.And the usual punishment was given.An English teacher routinely made jokes on my looks and complexion.She would call me ‘Blessed donkey’.I have no romantic notions of those old-aged teachers as heroic- they were as bored to teach us as we’d been to learn from them,our boredom were often competing.And one more thing I always performed very well in English.
To be human is to fail.Not just once.But several times.Often for the same stupid reasons.Nobody is perfect.I look at my own multiple failures and shrug.Yes,they hurt very bad.That bad,that I felt annihilated.Decimated for few weeks…even months.I didn’t allow myself to fall into a bottomless pit and never emerge.It has given me the courage to go on.Today I am studying chartered accountancy,one of the toughest course in the world.I was courageous enough to study on m own.I have never taken any special tuition in my life to clear exams.I was never indolent in self study.Doing CA requires patience.This courage has allowed me to write this piece and share failure with you.
That’s the thing about failure.Nobody looks at it as something to be shared.Everybody wants to be a part of success story.But failure?Oh no.You fly solo.I think it’s a huge mistake.When you fail is when you need someone.It is the period that is your darkest.When you feel most wretched.Most alone.Failure isolates you….sometimes from you.Failure feeds insecurity like nothing else.Keep moving forward just like Johnie Walker ad advises-keep moving.Don’t surrender.Don’t give up.
I knew I can never be defined by my failure at what I was expected by the world to succeed at.True success means to be free from public notion of failure.I believe examinations are not the real test of intelligence.You need marks just to save your skin.
There’s a story of Aesop’s.Aesop’s fox was a loser.He had tried hard to get to those delicious-looking grapes dangling seductively from a vine curled tenaciously around the topmost branch of a ridiculously tall tree.On failing to do so,he walked away describing them as sour.Loser!
By declaring it sour,the fox moved on to a happy life.Would we rather he spends the rest of his life in regret?Feeling anger.Feeling shame.Feeling cheated.Going on and on about those privileged monkeys can always get access to those delicious-looking grapes that dangle seductively from vines that curl around the topmost branches of tall trees.Must he transform his pain into poetry,and become a courtier of the literary circuit?Must he transform his longings into art?
Or must he just reframe the situation,see himself as nature’s lucky one,who escaped eating horribly sour grapes?Maybe even poisonous ones?
Who decides if grapes are actually sweet or sour?The ones who eat it,or the one’s who don’t.Who is this Aesop who judges the fox who is determined to unleash his imagination to be happy?Why do we let other people determine the parameters of what is success and what is not?Isn’t that the greatest failure:the wilful letting go of our ability to write our biography on our terms,believing that every decision taken is a march towards success?
It all depends on what we make our life today.If we are miserable,then yes,all the admissions we did not get,those boyfriends we did not meet,those jobs we did not find ate the sweet grapes that went to the lucky others.But if we are happy with what w have today,then we can have a sigh of relief not get those admissions/boyfriends/jobs.Who knows what sour taste they would have left in our mouth.
Humans have the gift of imagination.We use it to imagine the parameters of success and hence failures.Imagination also enables us to reject these parameters and create those that make us happy.
Admitting one’s failures is not easy and requires courage.Nevertheless once we are strong enough to admit our failures,half the battle is won.We have to embrace failure in order to be successful in life.
Famous people had their share of failure in order to reach their destination.For example,Thomas Alva Edison,who invented the light bulb,had 1000 failed trials before he succeeded.When asked about the discovery Edison said”The light bulb was an invention with 1000 step