Question is, will you give up?
Failure is defined as “an act or instance of failing or proving unsuccessful”. We come across this word so often either on television or during a random read and it fills a lot of persons with fear and self doubt.
Is failure something to fear?
We all read up on various self help guides that tell us how we should act and habits we should build to become better persons and successful individuals, whether in business or in our personal lives.
How many of us have tried these things and they didn’t work for us? How many of us have gone into business or wanted to go into business and it doesn’t turn out the way we expect and then we feel dejected and discouraged and even a little depressed?
Let’s bring it back a bit. Let’s leave the broad aspects on the effects of failure and bring it home and make it more personal. This could be in school, in relationships, in friendships. You name it. The fear of failing is far reaching and permeates every single aspect of our lives.
We go into school with the purpose of graduating right? We get into it because we believe that this will help us become what we want to be in life or because we just enjoy academia. All too often, we hear of persons (and maybe you reading this have also been through it) who drop out of school because they can’t meet up or because they don’t want to be left behind while their friends move forward.
This happened to me while I was at the University. I had chosen to pursue a career in Law. I’d always wanted to be a lawyer for as far as I could remember and I strived and worked towards it and finally got enrolled into the University to study Law.
Having been protected all my life up until that point from the hardship and realities of life, I wasn’t ready for the freedom and responsibility that came with being out on my own and became instantly distracted.
Forget the past!
From being one of the best in my Secondary School, I was having carryovers. Failure after failure followed me and I felt I was a dullard, I felt I was no longer smart and for a period of time I wallowed in self doubt.
How many of us hold on to past success and glory and feel that is a justification of who we are forgetting that if we don’t move forward, it will be for nought?
Yes, sometimes looking back to the past energises us and tells us we can do better but dwelling on it will take you nowhere in the long run.
So eventually, I had to realise that if I continued to be filled with self doubt and didn’t do anything about my situation, I would remain where I was while others moved forward. So I picked myself up and strove to complete my education.
While I didn’t finish as the best, I did better than I ever expected and that was more than enough for me because I knew that where I found myself was as a result of the consequences of my actions.
The point here is that if you never fail, if you never set out to do something and don’t initially succeed at it, you’ll never have that drive to do what others say you could never do.
What does all this mean?
Look, there are times when one has to take a bow, yes. There are those situations where no matter how hard you try, you can’t make it work. Say a marriage where you’re giving your best after having failed so many times but your partner isn’t willing to meet you half way. Eventually you’ll have to read the writing on the wall and step away and move on.
However, it is my belief that we should do everything we can, take it from every angle until we are sure we have done everything possible to ensure success.
Through all of this, we should remember that failure isn’t the end. It never is. Failure teaches; failure builds. Failure should give you a purpose and a drive which says: “I won’t let go, I can do this.” If you want to go into business, let this be your mantra; “I will fail, but I will grow because failure tells me what doesn’t work and not that it won’t work.” Sigh!
If you’ve never encountered failure, I’m not sure I envy you truly. How would you act when you try at something and it doesn’t work out?