Failure is not final
10-Jan-2017


If one were to give up every time one failed one would never amount to anything. A human baby would not learn to talk, walk and perform all the functions necessary for survival, if it gave up the first time that it failed in its attempt to learn a new skill. In fact, of all the creatures in the animal kingdom, a human being takes the longest to learn any skill. It is usually a painstaking effort in which much help is provided by the parents of the growing human child.

But after bumbling around and making all the mistakes in the world a human being is still far superior to all the other creatures in the kingdom who learn to walk, fly and swim quite quickly, guided merely by instinct. A human being on the other hand is  largely guided by his or her grit and determination.

We will constantly try out new things, not fazed by any failures that one may face along the way till we achieve success. It’s not for nothing that they say that failure is the stepping stone to success. If you desire to know success you must first pass through failure. So if in your endeavors in life you meet repeated failures, that does not mark you as a failure, but as a man or a woman determined to succeed. 

Not trying in the face of failure can prove to be disastrous. It has been observed in the case of people who have been marooned on deserted islands and other remote locations, only those people are able to last till rescue, who are constantly thinking on their feet, and trying different ways to reach out a signal or find a safe path home. Those who give up after a few failed attempts don’t usually make it.

Suppose you have been wanting to learn swimming but are terribly afraid of water because of one failed attempt. Now you have two courses of action available to you. One is that you accept that you are a failure and never learn to swim and the other option is to fight you fear in a determined fashion and make a concerted effort to try and learn swimming. This is just as true of learning to drive a car, flying a plane or cooking a meal.

Your failures don’t mark you out as a failure, but as a person determined to succeed, come what may. For every successful scientific experiment there have been scores of failed ones. When a new drug or vaccine is developed by scientists they send it for field trials, where it inevitably fails at first. Each failure makes the scientists working on them more determined to achieve success because they are aware that they are getting better with every attempt. 

At present NASA is busy working on a project that will put man on Mars. Many are the hurdles that the scientists are facing in this quest and failed experiments and trials are an integral part of the project. Yet no one doubts the fact that the project will succeed because NASA has a brilliant track record. And what is the reason behind that-the fact that every failure has made them more determined to succeed.

Look at this in another light. Every time a marathoner runs a marathon, he or she risks failure at every step. It is not normal for the human body to endure the kind of stress that a marathoner puts it under. All through the race the marathoner’s body would be sending signals that he or she should stop. The heart would be pounding and the adrenalin would be rushing, sending the signal that the running should stop. This mean that failure is just around the corner for the athlete and it is only their determination to not succumb to it that makes the marathoner complete the race.

Life is like that marathon where failures challenge us at every step and it is only our determination to succeed that sees us reaching the top.  There is an old adage that advises you that if at first you don’t succeed, try, try till you succeed. This in a sense is the great secret of human success. Rome they say was not built in a day. Every little success is the result of sweat, tears and a lot of failures.

Failure in fact can be taken as the first sign of success. You will only fail if you try to achieve something. If you don’t endeavor to do anything, because you might fail, then you might as well as give up on life. Like they say-no pain, no gain. Everything inherently carries with it the risk of failure. You may even fail to cross the street because you may have an accident or it may start to rain. That will not dent your determination to cross the street on another occasion. If anything it will make it stronger, for you will not be prevented from doing something as mundane as crossing a street!

One should therefore never fear failure. It will only lead to a better future. Not experiencing failure is probably a more dangerous proposition, for it will lead to complacency and therefore stagnancy. The only thing constant in life should be change for that keeps you engaged and alive. Anyone who is in the habit of getting out of their comfort zone and trying something new know that failure is an integral part of the process. But the true measure of a successful life is to use the failures to temper one’s determination to succeed. Tough times will come and go, but tough people will outlast both.

Observe how a spider intricately and painstakingly weaves its silken web, which is just a fraction of its body weight, yet holds it up. The process is a slow and painful one and sees many failures, yet the spider perseveres and wins the day. We humans do pretty much the same thing.


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