A Perspective of Failure

8:58:00 PM

"A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits." ~ Richard M. Nixon

I don't know if any of you followed the state elections that took place sometime back in a few states like Goa, U.P. etc. What caught my eye was the response Rahul Gandhi, the Congress candidate who stood for the U.P. elections, gave to his loss: He said, “Blame is mine. It's the mood for the SP. A good lesson for me; I will think about this defeat. But the result is not good." 
Not only does he accept responsibility for the loss but he goes on to say that this whole process was a good lesson for him and that he would think about the loss.

We all face failures in life at some point or the other. We cannot avoid it. We could be well prepared, have checked every small little detail and yet face failure. Life throws at us certain situations that we can’t control and sometimes don't even see coming.

But if it’s true that success is real then it’s also true that failure is as real. While everyone prepares for success, no one prepares for failure.

The truth is some failures can make us fail permanently. I had just seen the movie 'Valkyrie' where some of the German officials try to assassinate Hitler. They failed in their attempt and as a result lost their very lives. It was quite a brilliant display by Tom Cruise.

But not all failures have to be permanent. I believe if failures are seen differently then more often or not they could be great opportunities! Everything depends on one's perspective to failure.

While we can't control situations that happen to us, we can control our response to it. Rahul Gandhi's response to his loss at these elections shows his perspective to failure. We can learn a few lessons on failures from this.
  • Accept and admit failure.
This is not very easy but I believe this is the first step we ought to take when things go wrong. We need to accept that we have made a mistake somewhere. Accepting mistakes is the first step onto the ladder of success.

Accepting is one thing while admitting it is another. It takes courage to admit that you have gone wrong. We often think that if we admit we may look weak and that people may think of us as incapable but admitting that we have gone wrong makes us open to correction. We receive valuable advice which we wouldn't have received otherwise.

Famous actor Bruce Lee once said, "Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them."
  • Failures are temporary.
This is a perspective issue.
Learning to accept and admit responsibility for one's mistake requires courage while understanding that failure is only temporary requires having a different perspective.

When I was a child, I had a fascination for the game of chess. I asked my uncle, Aagi John who was very good (and still is!) to teach me the game. He was an excellent teacher. He taught me every move. And the way he taught me was by making me play against him. Of course, as far as I remember I lost every time I played him. But with every game he would teach me of my mistakes. Once I got so frustrated that I told him I was never going to touch the game of chess ever again! He told me one thing that day which till date I've never forgotten! "You learn best after you lose!"

Isn't it true that some of the best lessons in life are learnt after we've failed or made mistakes? What was my uncle telling me? It’s alright to lose now so that I can win later! This failure is temporary!

Someone once said, "Failure is temporary, giving up is what makes it permanent." Too many times, when we fail, we give up. We decide that we can never get it right again. 
  • Failures show us what won't work.
The famous inventor Thomas Alva Edison said, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

After accepting failure and viewing that it’s only temporary, we need to evaluate where we went wrong and make sure we don't repeat the same mistakes again.

"Mistakes are painful when they happen, but years later a collection of mistakes is what is called experience." - Denis Waitley
The next time you are faced with a failure; do remember that it’s not the end of the world and that new opportunities are on its way.

What are your views on failures?

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  1. totally agree... never knew how much failure I'd have to face in life.. but somehow its made me stronger, I always believe.

  2. That's true Roshan! Looking at failures with the right perspective definitely gets us stronger! When the going gets tough, the tough gets going!

  3. i have failed any number of times but the zeal to start afresh never died down ,failures have only
    made me stronger ....interesting read.

  4. Thanks Alka! What was that they used to say? Try, try again till you succeed!

  5. A very wisely written article! Very inspirational and I would suggest it as a must read for everyone out there!

  6. Tagged for a blogger award at http://godyears.blogspot.in/2012/05/versatile-blogger-award-and-7-new.html

  7. Thanks Roshan! Saw that one!
    Thanks Sakshi! Good to see you here!


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