“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” — J.K. Rowling
We all have sometime or the other faced failure in our lives, whether during our school, college, during preparation or even on emotional fronts. In all these situations, how many times have you actually sat and wondered what you learnt and about the role of failure in shaping your success. You know you will hardly find people who have done that because we live in a world which is obsessed with success. We have since our childhood been taught to be good at everything and no matter what you do in life, you must always come out with flying colors. We are made to believe that failure is only for losers and so we try to hide it and cry over our failures. How often has someone told you to first fail and then succeed as failure in itself is an experience that makes success look more beautiful and real?
Think of that one person you know who is successful but never failed. Well it will hard to find that out. We all know the famous Abraham Lincoln but do you know his failure story, born into poverty, Lincoln was faced with defeat throughout his life. He lost eight elections, twice failed in business and suffered a nervous breakdown, but did he give up? NO. This is why we all know about him today. Thomas Edison who was an inventor and a businessman, failed a thousand times while inventing the light bulb. Among his 1,093 patents, only 15 inventions change the world. But, he something new and valuable every time he failed.
So failure does bring some sorrow and sadness into your lives but that is momentarily, the long term benefit of failure is that it instills the confidence in you to move forward with greater zeal and enthusiasm and makes you fearless.
In a similar way success or failure in the examination should not discourage you as there have been success stories of various students who took up failure and converted it into success through their dedication and hard work. So let us now see what role failure plays in shaping your success.
Failure teaches you more than success can ever do:
Unlike success, which gives immense pleasure and happiness, failure gifts you the beauty of experience which stays with you for long. Failure means that you actually tried. Trying and failing are two of the most important teachers in your life which teach you how to walk the path of success. Failure encourages better thinking. It forces you to look back and ask why that work didn’t. What went wrong? When you try, you learn. When you fail, you learn even more. Keep trying, and keep failing. You will soon become a very educated student of life. Some of the life lessons that failure teaches us are:
- Experience and Knowledge: Many times we wonder what guarantees 100% success. The only answer to this question is failure. When we fail at something we gain firsthand experience of it, and gain the knowledge to work with precision. Failure alters your frame of mind and reflects in the real nature of things and their importance in our lives. Through the induction of pain and sorrow failure transforms and improves our inner selves. Failure brings with it knowledge which can be harnessed in the future to overcome failure itself.
Thus no matter how much we criticize failure It is the one thing that helps you find success in your future endeavors. We all long for something big in our lives and once we achieve that we become fearless. Well that is also not true. Even though he had established the huge empire of Apple, Steve Jobs was fired from his own company. His failure made him realize that his passion for work exceeded his disappointment of failure.
The experience and knowledge that he gained after being fired from his own company made him strong and he went on to establish future venture like NeXT and Pixar. Steve Jobs said in his interview: “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.”
- Resilience: We don’t really know how strong we are until we are stuck in a situation which tests our mental and physical strength. Failure is one such test of life. Failure is a necessity of life as it makes one resilient and strong. The person uses “mental process and behaviors in promoting personal assets and protecting himself from the potential negative effects of failure. In the competitive world today gone are those days where one can think of achieving their dreams and success overnight. It requires great amount of work and effort to be the best at what you are aiming for and thus the characteristic of resilience can help us in so many ways in life. Resilience helps in breeding success by setting the game up to win.
We have all heard of JK Rowling the name behind the beautiful fiction of Harry Potter series. Well today we all know what a great writer she is and how amazing she is doing in her life. But behind this enormous success, she went through a hell lot of pain and misery. In 1995 when she went around to get her book published she was rejected by 12 publishing houses by saying ‘It is too difficult for children, “It’s too long”, “Children will not be interested in it.” She had to rewrite the first chapter of the book 15 times before finally Bloomsbury agreed to publish her book. She later in an interview mentioned that ‘Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.’
- Growth and Value: Failure makes one mature and helps in growing one as a human being. Our lives are designed to grow and improve. Right from our genetic fibers that make us to the individuals that make up the society everything on the earth is supposed to grow with time. Growth is the fundamental part of all of us as without that we cannot improve. Failure is the teacher that teaches the fundamentals of growing and instills values in us. When we fail we understand the world and ourselves better. We dig deep into what we actually want to do and what is the path to achieve that success.
We have all heard of the famous Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, he was the former President of India but do you know about his struggles. As a kid he wanted to become a pilot but he failed to realize it by a whisker as he bagged the ninth position when only eight slots were available in the IAF.Later in life also as a project Director of SLV3 in Shriharikota he faced the biggest failure of his life. 317 seconds after the satellite was launched the flight was aborted and the remains of the test vehicle plashed into the Indian Ocean, some 560 km away. The whole nation watched as his worst fear came alive. At national level he took full responsibility for such a huge failure, but did that demoralize him to give up on his post and do something with lesser responsibility.
No, one year later they launched the ‘Rohini Satellite’ and added a new chapter in the history of India. Well this is how one grows after failure. If Kalam Sir had given up on his dreams due to one failure then we would have lost a great scientist, teacher, writer and the President of our country. So take stock, learn and adapt: Look at failure analytically, suspending feelings of anger, frustration, blame or regret, and learn to apply the new-found insight to go forward.
Changes Your Mindset and Builds Your Personality:
People associate failure with defeat and they think they must now stop and get done with whatever they are doing. Failure doesn’t mean the end; it just means you need to take a different road. We place ourselves in a negative frame of mind about failure. Right from our childhood we are asked to follow famous people. We were never allowed to dream of something huge or different. If one did so, he was tagged a crazy man.
Well failure gives you this freedom. Failure helps you think of what went wrong and how it can be improved. It changes your basic mindset and helps you build up into a person who is fearless, stronger and ready to face any obstacles. Many famous people only after failure have realized what they actually want to do. Failure brings you at state of mind when you feel you have lost everything and thus nothing could be worse than this. Thus in such a situation instead of looking for all the options you want to take up something that you are really passionate about and would like to give your heart and soul into. Failure brings us out of our comfort zone and challenges us to take great leaps
Originally a barrister by profession, Mahatma Gandhi was not a strong lawyer as he was unable to cross-question his witnesses. After spending some time doing the regular work, he went to South Africa where he developed his political skills. During his low time, when he was thrown out of the train in South Africa, he realized that what he actually wanted to do was fight for people’s right and make his country independent. It was not a cake-walk for him even there and his Satyagraha movement was fraught with difficulties even in India. Despite having failed so many times, we all till remember him as the ‘Father of Nation’. It is due to his sheer dedication and his hard-work.
Failure is a fascinating thing. People want to avoid it. Yet if you ask, of course it’s the best teacher you could ever have. “Failure is a weird word. I don’t see it as failure. I see it as a natural evolution of a solution to a problem.” The world’s biggest leaders before they became successful also went through a phased of epic failure. While we all look up to them and celebrate their success what we overlook is the path that got them there. It is the drive and determination that you show after failure that determines your success. Therefore, do not let this failure bog you down, instead rise above it with full valor and show the world what you deserve as failure is the stepping stone to success.