It has been nearly 10 years since I left school, but the memories of it are still fresh in my mind. I remember how nervous I was and how my stomach churned at the thought of failing one of my exams.
There’s beauty in failure.
It was just an exam, but the fear of failing was so strong that I would have preferred to curl up into a ball and hide in the garbage room forever rather than face the embarrassment if I were to flunk that paper.
Being brought up in a competitive environment where failure was not an option, I felt as if I had lost the ability to function like a normal being.
I kept myself busy with “Plan B” – how to turn myself into a ball, tree or plastic bag (as Katy Perry has suggested) and never be heard of again. And again I repeat, it was just an exam.
It was then, that I noticed how unprepared I was to face failures in my life. I also wondered if everyone felt the same as I did.
It has always been a struggle for me to face failure. However, I have been lucky to be constantly surrounded by a great group of people who have never ceased to help me get over many failures in life.
As years have gone by, I have learned ways to cope with such circumstances. I have also learned through failure that no one is truly an island, because there will always be someone willing to guide us out from the deep pit if we only seek them.
The beauty of failure
As much as we may hate it, we have to learn to accept the fact that failure is part of being human. We make mistakes and we learn from them. Without failures and the pains that come with them, we would never understand or perhaps remember valuable lessons.
We may not be able to comprehend the lessons that failure is trying to teach us the very moment we fall, but I believe when the time is right, we will be able to look back, see the bigger picture, understand why we failed and see how it has affected our life, perhaps even in a positive way.
Check out this short video on dealing with setbacks (Hint: World Cup):
Of course I am not trying to imply that we must always fail first in order to learn, but it is important to learn how to embrace failure and see it as an essential part of our learning curve.
Failure is like a mother who wakes us up from our ‘dream’ and pushes us to get out of our comfortable bed, sending us to school for a good education.
Failure exposes to us the mistakes that we have been doing, and opens up more doors of opportunity to explore different ways of doing things, and to start new things.
My favourite example of how failure can create new prospects is from the woman of style who has changed the world of bridal fashion, Vera Ellen Wang (particularly because I adore her dresses!).
Wang failed to get a place in the US Olympic figure skating team. She was also rejected for the position of the editor-in-chief at Vogue magazine. As a result, she decided to join the fashion design industry.
Today, she is a prominent figure in the multi-billion dollar industry and women all over the world continue to admire her creations.
Failure is like a good gym instructor who trains us to get fitter and stronger. It is hard work at first, but once we see the results of our training, we will be able to proudly stand in front of the mirror and say “Hey, this is worth it!”
In the process, we will face all kinds of challenges which will perhaps stall our efforts and frustrate us, but if we are able to look beyond the obstacles and set our eyes on the goal, it can be a strong booster to push us forward.
Like a loyal friend, failure is always on our side. It helps us to grow and encourages us to move out of our comfort zone.
Remember that each failure is leading us towards a greater moment. Whenever failure comes and visits, greet it with a smile and thank it for helping you move on to the next step towards success.
Don’t rob yourself from the accomplishments that are awaiting you at the other end, and never let the high price of failure stop you from overcoming it.
Majura constantly seeks for fun new ways to help youth discover their leadership potential. Share your stories of failure by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. To see how you can partner with Leaderonomics to create greater experiential learnings in schools, universities and organisations, do be in touch with us at email@example.com.
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