Thomas Edison once said “ I haven’t failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”. Failure doesn’t sound very good when you hear it, does it? Not being good at something, or failing at something is a fear we all carry with ourselves all through our lives. Even the best of speakers have their nervous moments each time they step on the stage for the first time, or in fact, every time. There’s no way to mentally prepare yourself to deal with failure. Because it’s not a habit, and it cannot be because failure gets no acceptance, it only gets criticism. There are very few people who actually understand the significance of failure, because to the world outside, there are no second chances and there’s no getting back the time you lost. But really, if you believe in it, there are second chances, rather many chances you’ll get.
The key here is to not identify yourself with failure but finding the good in it and learning from what it taught you. No great discovery was made out of mere chance. They were all made due to persistent, relentless efforts of people who never gave up and put failures behind them. Now when you realistically look at it, the picture isn’t all that rosy. You’ll find people who’ll sympathize with you when you fail and tell you how it’s for the better but it will NOT sound convincing at that moment, and you know it. You can’t turn failure into poetry, and there’s no nicer way to put it. Failure always leaves a wound, whether you’ve put In enough hard work into the task or not, but it hurts far more when you’ve worked very hard for it. I literally howled at my 12th board result because I wasn’t going to get into the college I wanted and I believed I really worked for it. And the more annoying part was even people who hadn’t worked as hard as I had, scored almost as much as I did. It took me a while to get over it but I did, because I couldn’t associate myself with the word ‘failure’ neither could I believe that I wasn’t capable of doing better. Sometimes you think you have given your hundred percent into something and you do not get the results you expected. Here’s the bitter truth, for most part of your life, you may not actually get what you expect or you deserve. But then there’s good news. There’s always something better in store for you. It really is.
And you don’t really know what your hundred percent is. Sometimes you don’t even need to put in your hundred percent into something, you just need to put the right amount of effort into the right thing. Success is very calculative; it comes from smart work more than hard work. That’s what I have learnt from my personal experience. Whenever you work really hard for something, you somewhere emotionally attach yourself to it. And that’s not passion, its just unnecessary emotional attachment which causes more heartache than it does you any good. Success is a series of events, it’s a timeline. And it’s not permanent like most things in life. Failure, after you’ve seen success is even harder to digest because there’s this kind of arrogance than comes with success. Failure isn’t a habit, but success is. And even though it may seem like a very good habit on the face on it, it really is not. Its terribly addictive, more than any drug in the world. And it makes you diseased to an incurable extent because you don’t know any way out of it. It’s very hard to believe that there could be anything wrong with something as good as success for you to imagine parting ways with it. It’s like breaking up with your boyfriend not knowing why you have to do it.
You have to take one day at a time, and believe that every day is a new beginning and you have 50-50% chance of success or failure both. What comes your way is 70% in your hands and 20% on external factors and then there’s always that pinch of luck that you need. I read Shahrukh Khan’s speech at AIMA sometime back, and it was accused of plagiarism or whatever, but there were some beautiful and ever inspiring words in it. “First and foremost, it’s not the absence of failure that makes you a success; it is your response to failure that actually helps to buffer the reverses you experience. I myself have two responses to failure. First is pragmatism. I believe that if one approach does not work, another one might, as in business, too. The second response is fatalism. I fool myself that it was bound to happen, and that I need to move on, and not get caught up in the oft-repeated question – ‘God, why does it happen to me?’ It happened, move on.” What I loved about the speech was the approach to failure that he mentioned, the better way to look at it. There’s no fun in failure but each time you fail, you must find out why you did and remind yourself that you’re only a few steps away from success. And the most important thing about failure is that you’ll never enjoy success as much if you’ve never failed. So you ought to know failure to know success better.