We often talk about success, but how frequently do we talk about our failures? It is one of the most uncomfortable topics to talk about. Very few of us like to admit failures.
In many cultures across the world, failure is a stigma. It makes us look less worthy and hence, we try to cover it. To resist unpleasant thoughts, we naturally tend to avoid things that bother us. But in reality, avoiding them only magnifies the pain. I used to look at my failures as things I am not proud of, but the truth is, they have shaped the person I am today. Let me share with you a few of my failures:
- I wanted to be an athlete. I never got selected to participate in tournaments beyond school level.
- I prepared for GRE and TOEFL. Though I had a decent score, I was rejected from each of the 5 universities I had applied to for admission to the Masters program.
- I was too scared to write. Yes, I was scared to even write a post on Facebook!
- After countless rejections, I was probably the last in the entire batch of 60 students to get an internship offer.
Let’s be real — the feeling of failure is unpleasant. Now let’s be positive — we cannot let our failures bring us down. Here are a few things that have helped me to bounce back whenever I encountered a failure:
Embrace your failure
Do not blame others when you fail. Instead, accept your mistakes and understand the causes of your failure. Though admitting to failure makes us feel vulnerable, it is a liberating experience.
Recognize that it is okay to fail.
There is a hidden potential for growth in every failure. Identify the potential and build on it.
You will never know what works for you until you try. It is easy to get overwhelmed and be on the verge of giving up if you try too many things at one time.
Take one step at a time.
Make a priority list and take pride in the small achievements along the way. This will give you the much-needed boost of motivation.
Seek help from others
Build a mutual support system. Find a mentor, a family member or a friend who supports you in your efforts. They will raise your spirit when you feel low. Make sure to be there for them too, in their times of need. Mental health and happiness are as important as physical well-being.
Have a go-getter attitude
Have a guiding vision and enjoy the whole journey towards it. If you have a dream, give your 100% to turn it into reality. Don’t be afraid of the results. Every single day gives you an opportunity to make yourself better.
Give up on excuses
“I don’t know where to start”
“There are no opportunities for me”
“I don’t have enough time”
These are some of the common excuses we give ourselves. If you want to improve, give up on excuses. You are capable of turning your every dream into reality. Always keep on honing your skills and knowledge. Develop a plan over time to conquer challenges.
Fast forward, several failures ahead, I am:
- An aspiring marathon participant
- A proud Dartmouth graduate
- An enthusiastic writer
- A happy software engineer surrounded by excellent peers at Appian.
Sometimes you just have to do it. Stop over-thinking and start doing. Let go of the fears of failure — it will lead to bigger and better things. A magical world of wonders is waiting for you out there! Go for it!
P.S: How is that image related to the article? I always took awful pictures and kept trying nonetheless. I took this shot in Santa Barbara at Stearns Wharf during sunrise. That is a great shot of vibrant sunrise amplified by the reflection of the sky in the ocean, isn’t it?