Monday, January 30, 2012

Failure: It's An Option

I find it particularly interesting and amusing that there are abundant sources of literature on the subject of How To Be Successful, Quickly and even on Averting Failures and Risks. However, there is very little that is written up on how to deal with being unsuccessful, being risk-prone and what to do when you've failed? I suspect it is one particular taboo subject alongside sex and nudity. Or better, one of the most dreaded words in the English language.

We have practically been brought up in a landscape where success, defined in terms of fame, fortune and fans; should be everyone's lifetime goal. The unnecessary stress this brings upon every individual is proven by the unarguable success of pharmaceutical companies making happy pills and the number of very affluent shrinks/therapists as well as cosmetic surgeons.

Something is terribly wrong here.

Growing up in a family where academic achievements defined your future, I chose to be the maverick. I refuse to follow my family's definition of success, much to the pain and chagrin of my parents. Whilst my big brother raked in the honours, I chose to be the apple of the Discipline's Office, The Detention Centre and the Guidance Counsellor. Nope, there was nothing clinically wrong with me, I just refused to be outstanding. However, I was exemplary in matters where Citations were given but they were completely of a different nature. 

I realized that because of this trait, I have become fearless about "failing". You see here, the fear of failure tend to reduce your capacity to stretch and dare yourself. When you're afraid of failing, you're scared to dream; you tend to be catatonic and immobile, fretting over other people's opinions and feelings, instead of yours. You end up feeling comfortable with mediocrity, for as long as it is simple, safe and comfortable enough.

Life is too short to be fearful of failing. Didn't someone say before, "it is not how many times you fall that counts, it is how quickly you can rise up again?" or something like that.

I think the simplest way to live with this is to accept realistically, that Failure, is always an option. This does not mean that you are not going to be giving your challenges your best shot, or that you have reduced your competitiveness. For me it simply means, that there is a possibility that I can fail, so I plan ahead to avoid it. If I still fail nonetheless, I move on. I just know for a fact that whatever you try to do and however you try your damn best to do it, sometimes, things just don't work out. I will not beat myself up for my failures. Shit happens, to the best of us. If shit hasn't happened to you, you'll probably be in for a major enema. Damn, that's going to be tougher!

Failure does not define who you are. The world and its men can call you such, but believe me, it is not your identity.

Just dream on, be reckless, try on new things, do things that will make other people stop and think that you are actually, certifiably insane! Love with all you've got, don't hold back. It can probably cost you a lot, but who cares? Fail everyday! Embrace your frailty and move on. Live a little. Look at the "true" heroes and icons of the world, Vincent Van Gogh for instance, at some point people believed them to be deranged. They could be, but so what?

I follow Buddha's dictum: "The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows." So I choose to tread on and risk, failing and falling, but each time, rising with greater enthusiasm than before. So to life, mankind and the world, bring it on!


  1. I needed to read this today. Are you a mind reader.Well now I know it is okay to fail sometimes :)

  2. So true. You can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs;)

  3. I love your outlook. I wish I could be more like that, but I am as my mother says "a wanky crybaby".

  4. I needed this :) Thanks.


  5. This couldn't have come at a better time. Makes me feel good already. Thanks for posting this article!!

  6. Definitely a mind reader - It is the sign I was waiting for. When we know failure is possible, we can start anything, we can follow our dreams. It might not work but we ought to try.
    Love your outlook on life.

  7. It's a funny thing, failure. Nothing teaches us more than failure, and yet we abhor it. And nothing prepares us to accept success graciously like having failed before.
    Thank you for this thoughtful post. :)

  8. In my head I hear Nelson from the Simpson's every time I fail. HaHA.

    (I hear it a lot. A lot, a lot.)

  9. I need to print this and put it on my fridge, because it couldn't have come at a better time.

    Well said PB.

  10. --thanks for the inspiration.

    What do we have to lose? Go Wild. Be Free.

    I'm not afraid of anything after Kay...


  11. Great post :)
    you can try to avoid failure by reading others who have failed and how to do things right. But, to truly do something new or great you will have to embrace failure as a means to an end. Also, its often better to just fail on your own and avoid the how not to fail stories because youre getting someone elses idea of success and you also wont understand as well the wonerful lesson of why you failed in the first place. I love tinkering with things and learning how to improve something by failing and then adjusting the methods for better results. Its a great learning process and learning is fun

  12. I am feeling so stoked this Post touched you guys in ways more than I hoped it would.

    I wrote this for me too, as we all need that boost and push sometimes, lest we succumb to the dreaded "F" word ... I meant Fear.

    I also don't think there's anything wrong with crying about failures. I rationalize my crying by saying I wash my eyes with my tears, it's called "flushing.". Of course I invented that. It actually clears my head and makes me feel better then I am ready to "rawr" again!

    I hope we all have the courage when we need it most, keep the resilience to bounce back; have unwavering faith and hope; and acquire the tenacity of a pit-bull terrier! lol! Cheers y'all!

  13. Too true, my friend. Failure is just as important to our being as success...otherwise, how will we learn? Thank you for this, it was well-written and captivating (like always!)

  14. Great post. Failure is pretty much inevitable to all of us; we're all going to experience it a few times in our lifetime. Where's the sense in thinking we will succeed every single time? That's just an unrealistic - and I think also an unhealthy - way to live life.

    Accepting that we will sometimes fail and to take the hit when it comes is much more realistic, rational way to look at and go through life. And failure isn't all that bad... we learn from the mistakes we made and we go into the next round knowing more than we did so last time.

    Failure is a part of life, just as much as success is.

    Again, great post.

  15. One of my favorite failure quotes is attributed to Lee Iococca... The fellow credited with turning Chrysler around... His quote went something like this...

    Show me someone who has never failed, and I will show you someone who has never tried anything...

    Really, this is a very nice post you have written...


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  17. Amie - thanks for stopping by and being so generous with your comments and feedback. I pray that all things that are meant to be, will work out great and exciting for you and your family! Salut!

    Ash - thank you so much. It is always inspiring to hear your insights.

    Red Shoes - I have read all about Iacocca, I think he is one of the more inspiring leaders of the 20th century. His quote is spot on. Thank you for sharing and for being here. :)

  18. I have known people who master certain areas and then they stop trying to learn. You really can't challenge them in that area - in which they are so expert. But they miss out on what's beyond them...all around them. I picture a chess master...unbeatable...sitting at a chess board...but this chessboard happens to be in the middle of a frenetic battlefield...

  19. Awesome...this entry my friend, wasnt a failure. You speak loudly thru it. Thank you. I am going to share this with my children. I feel the same. I always tell people, 'you will never know unless you try, and until you try, whatever it is youre dreaming of will ONLY be a dream'....its nice to see im not the only one who truly feels this way! :)

  20. Awesome...this entry my friend, wasnt a failure. You speak loudly thru it. Thank you. I am going to share this with my children. I feel the same. I always tell people, 'you will never know unless you try, and until you try, whatever it is youre dreaming of will ONLY be a dream'....its nice to see im not the only one who truly feels this way! :)


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