By Jayaram V
FAILURE VERSUS SUCCESS
Nothing strikes us more hurtfully than failure. Especially,
in case of people with poor self-esteem and low self-confidence,
the pain and fear associated with failure is much more serious,
damaging and debilitating. It can have a lasting and crippling effect.
Failure prevents many from being true to their potential and
realizing their cherished dreams. Concerned as we are with success
and survival, living in a competitive world that worships winners
and castigates losers, even people with normal self esteem tend
to react to failure negatively, with feelings of despair, depression,
inadequacy, incompetence and loss of self-esteem. Unless there is
a paradigm shift in our thinking, we will continue to rejoice at
our successes and cringe at the very thought of our failures.
Since success and failure are inseparable from our lives, as
long as we are engaged in some professional activity or the other,
we have to find healthy ways to deal with our failures to keep working
at our goals and realize our dreams.
KNOW THAT YOU CAN DEAL WITH FAILURE
You may not have the confidence to admit, but you have the ability
to deal with any failure or problem in your life. Confidence is
the key. If you have confidence in yourself and in your abilities,
you can overcome any failure in your life. However tough it may
be, no problem is insurmountable to human intelligence. You can
deal with every failure in a positive, intelligent and decisive
ways. You have the power, you have the skills and you have the strength
to confront your failures and minimize their impact upon your life
and actions, just as you can manage any situation in your life,
with right effort and right frame of mind.
Sharing your success
We are conditioned to succeed, not only because it makes us
feel good in comparison with others against whom we compete
but also because it creates many opportunities to gain rewards,
more opportunities to succeed further and recognition from the
peers. The main reason why we love success is because it feeds
our egos and makes us larger than what we are. If this is the
sole reason why you want to be successful, you are bound to
crash and burn mentally emotionally when things heat up and
failure becomes imminent. Even though you may succeed in the
beginning stages, failure catches up with you later in your
life as the forces against you increase in number and gather
strength. Failure and setbacks are unavoidable when you pursue
success. Everyone who wants to achieve success in life must
be aware of this. This problem can be offset by extending the
rewards of your success and making others partners in your success.
If you share the rewards of your success with others, there
will be people to help you, console you or stand by you, when
you have problems and setbacks in your life.
You can overcome failure with optimism, objectivity, awareness
and sense of responsibility, before it consumes you with its raw
force of negativity and makes you feel hopeless and helpless. With
simple commonsense, you can find solutions to the problems that
are holding you down and preventing you from realizing your goals.
There may be times in your life, when you feel defeated, ignored
or neglected. But they would not last long, unless you succumb to
your fears and worries. The best way to deal with failure is to
treat it like any other problem, which needs to be understood and
resolved rationally, not emotionally.
ACCEPT FAILURE AS NORMAL
Failure is normal. We all have experienced it and we all know
what it means. We don‘t have to feel depressed when we fail in achieving
something. Success and failure are two possibilities in any goal
oriented action. We stumble before we learn to walk. We fail before
we succeed. We cannot guarantee the result, but we can always guarantee
the best possible effort.
Our success and failure in any endeavor depend upon many factors
some of which are within our control and some are not. If someone
has succeeded in reaching a goal, it does not mean one will always
be. Several forces and factors come together, to make an event possible.
There is always an element of uncertainty associated with our lives
and actions. So accept failure as a normal and natural process.
Do not beat yourself for your failures and suffer from low self-esteem.
Failure is not the end of all, but the culmination of some actions
or decisions taken or not taken during the course of an organized
effort. A failure is success in the making, unless you want to give
up. It is an incomplete task, which you need to finish with resolve.
It is a phase within a process; a problem within a solution; and
a nightmare within a dream that arises because it has a message
to deliver and a lesson to teach.
Just as pain and suffering resurface in our lives from time to
time to remind us that we are mere mortals; failure arises from
our actions and undertakings to remind us that we are just human
beings. Failure is the means, with which we carve our path to success.
For us to enjoy the fruit of success, we need to suffer the roughness
The best thing about failure is it is temporary, manageable and
solvable. It is therefore better to treat failure as a process or
event, which needs to be examined, analyzed and dealt with effectively
rather than attribute it to one‘s intrinsic factors and suffer from
ACCEPT FAILURE AS A LEARNING OPPORTUNITY
You can either learn from failure or suffer from it. The
choice is yours. In life we are always presented with this choice,
whether we are aware of it or not. We fail because something somewhere
goes wrong. It may be a decision or a process we used or an action
we have undertaken. Since we are not perfect, there is always a
possibility that we may make mistakes and delay our progress. If
we have the courage to admit our mistakes and pay attention to them,
our suffering will be less.
We notice failure when we find a perceptible gap between performance
and expectation or between what is done and what is required. So
in a way failure is relative, because what is standard for someone
may not be for another. What you consider as failure may be success
for some and what you think as success may be failure for someone
You have greater chances of making progress in life, if you accept
failure as an eye-opener or a learning opportunity. Failure grounds
you in the reality of life, by putting things in proper perspective.
You can use it to overcome your imperfections or ignorance. You
can use it to measure your progress or learn from it to polish your
skills and faculties. You can learn to deal with your problems more
effectively and efficiently, by knowing what went wrong and how
If you consider failure with such spirit and attitude, as a warning
signal, or a sign of something amiss, which you can use for your
self-improvement or your self-awareness, you will not be upset by
the interruptions and delays it creates and make use of them to
your best advantage. But if you treat it as a mark of weakness or
personal shortcoming on your part and if you feel depressed dejected
by it, you may likely discontinue your efforts and not reach your
goals at all. So embrace failure as a learning opportunity and deal
with it effectively, to minimize the chances of its repetition and
its impact on your life.
Optimism is good, but it is always better to be aware of the
risks involved in any situation. Before you start your goal oriented
action, anticipate what kind of problems you may expect on the way
and prepare yourself adequately to cope with them.
Remain in a state of preparedness to reduce your chances of failure.
Use your foresight to foresee the areas where you may likely face
problems or setbacks, and make adequate preparations to meet with
them. Devise suitable alternative and contingency plans to deal
with the problems that you may likely encounter during the various
phases of your goal oriented actions. If still things happen, learn
from your own experience and become wiser, efficient and effective.
This is the best and prudent way to minimize your losses, conserve
your resources, remain focused on your goals and stay on course.
With such an approach, failure becomes an integral part of your
vision for success.
So whatever you do, be flexible and always have a backup plan.
Be prepared to deal with contingencies, or the unforeseen and unexpected
situations. Develop action plans, alternate scenarios and intervention
mechanisms to deal with different kinds of situations, as they may
develop from time to time and interfere with your progress.
BE ALERT TO THE SITUATION
We are semi-perfect and limited in our knowledge, skills and
awareness. Perfection comes to us after many years of effort and
dedication. Even then, one is not sure whether one is well prepared
to weather all the challenges in one‘s life. However well prepared,
intelligent and knowledgeable we are, whenever we embark upon a
new course of action, we cannot escape from the possibility of failure.
Wisdom, therefore, demands that we should not take things for
granted and that we should remain alert to the events happening
around us. When we are working towards our goals, we have to watch
our progress carefully, with our minds acting like sensors, ready
to grasp a situation and identify the problem areas. A driver cannot
fall asleep while driving. So are we when we are working towards
our goals. We have to monitor our progress constantly, using every
available barometer and seek feedback from people and situations
to know what is going on. We have to consult the experts in the
field, if necessary, to know whether we are progressing in the right
Source: Reproduced partially from
the article, "Coping With Failure" from the book Think Success by
Jayaram V. You may purchase this book from
our online store or from
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