We try so hard to make something out of our lives, and for many, the fear of failure is the biggest drive. So what is failure, and how can we deal with it? A question that many have tried to answer.
I’m sure you have all seen numerous videos or talks in which emerging entrepreneurs talk about themes such as success and failure. The topic of failure is one that has occupied the minds of many but only overcome by few. One thing I’ve noticed is that people have different interpretations of failure. In my own words: “Failure is not when you struggle to complete a task or when it takes you a few trials to master it. Failure is the moment you decide that there is no use of trying.” I do understand that not all wars are meant to be fought, but giving up only due to lack of stamina is not a convincing excuse. I see every failure as a new opportunity, as described in the words of Thomas Edison, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”.
History is filled with such epic tales of heroism and persistence. Take the battle of the Trojan war, which tells the story of the Greeks, who tried to seize the city of Troy for 10 years, until one day, the Greeks built a huge wooden horse and gifted it to the city of Troy. The city celebrated their victory until they fell asleep, and the warriors, who were hiding in the wooden horse, came out at night and took over the city. This is one of the best lessons history has to offer. If you fail once, try, and try again. It took the Greeks 10 years to seize a city, but they eventually did!
It comes down to the simple argument of whether or not it’s too late to achieve a goal. No great man has ever become great by giving up. Always strive to move forward, to succeed, and to win. Do not live confined in the expectations of those around you, whose opinion, in truth, could carry minimal weight.
Why is giving up an indicator of failure? Well, let’s look at it this way. Your goals and opportunities are like a cup of water. Where the cup symbolizes your goals and the water symbolizes opportunities. You may hold the cup for as long as you want, it will not disappear. But as for the water, it might evaporate by time and eventually vanish.
Regardless, at the end of the day, it wouldn’t matter if the water evaporated because you are still holding the cup. As long as you are holding on to your values, goals, and aspirations there will always be a source of opportunities. The cup may be empty for a day, a month, a year, but it will not stay empty. Opportunities come and go. The moment you throw your cup is the moment you deny any opportunity from entering your life. In the words of Winston Churchill “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Like everyone else, I have been through times where I found it difficult to achieve certain goals, and where giving up seemed like the most appropriate option. But there is one thing that helped me achieve things I wasn’t sure I was able to achieve, and that is knowing myself. Once I knew who I am, what I wanted, and what I am capable of, everything fell into place. I don’t mean knowing the superficial you, I mean digging deep into your core and understanding the inner you.
We live in a world that keeps us so busy that we lose track of ourselves. We tend to fall into certain social cycles that determine who we are. Having moments of solitude on a hike alone, a long drive, a trip abroad, and many other ways push you to understand more about yourself. Once you master controlling and knowing your own psyche, understanding your strengths and weaknesses, you will be able to overcome many failures.
“Failure is so important. We speak about success all the time. It is the ability to resist failure or use failure that often leads to greater success. I’ve met people who don’t want to try for fear of failing.” – J.K. Rowling
Shamma holds a Masters Degree in Human Rights and a BA in International Affairs. She currently works as an instructor at Zayed University. Having volunteered with people with disability for more than 10 years, she devotes her career and free time to work closely with vulnerable groups to create a visible impact in society. Having interests in philosophy, human psyche, sociology, and literature her column “12 Lessons” will focus on issues that we face as a part of the trial and error process that is life.
Latest posts by Shamma Aldabal (@ShammaMD) (see all)
- What Is Failure? - February 19, 2017
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- Let’s Put Thought Into Practice, Let’s Be Mindful and Grateful - September 6, 2016