He who has not failed has learned nothing at all in life. Poor is he who has always succeeded for he has never known the sweetness of victory.
It is when ashes are turned into beauty and mourning is turned into dancing; the true joy of victory comes. For real victory is bitterness transformed to sweetness by the sweat of one’s brow and tenacity of purpose. Then, every falling down becomes a lesson of discovery about oneself, one’s motivation and one’s commitment.
The real discovery of who you are comes when you confront failures. Do you give up then? Do you retreat into hiding? Do you put the blame on others? Or do you press forward? Know that it does not matter even if you do not win if you do the best you can.
This then is the criteria for judging your failures: Were you able to give your best? If you failed in spite of it, rejoice. For there is no point in comparing yourself with somebody else’s best. Because in a real sense both of you won. Only on a comparative scale your best was bettered by his best.
Going by this standard even your best victories can be termed failures if you were not able to give your best. To bring out the best you need tough challenges. So treat failures as your toughest competitors. Then you will be inspired to give your best. And then failures become success itself; each moment of struggle meshing the different parts of the process together into a meaningful whole. And it takes time. A different time for each person as each seed takes a different time to bloom.
But then the difficulty with failure lies in getting locked up in the past. So do not strive to have a romance with the ghosts of failures. Do not frame them up to cherish or treasure. Instead, gather them together and light a fire. Not a fire of anger, bitterness or self-pity; but a fire of passion to excel.
Again, the road to success seems rough and elusive at the same time because you would have defined success in terms of power, riches or fame. Though these are not wrong in themselves, an obsession with them leaves you poor. You may exercise great power but not have the devotion of your friends. You may have riches but be unable to savour the joy of holding a balloon in your hand while you take a stroll on the beach. You may have fame; but fame usually does not last longer than a soap bubble. And the tragedy is that when you have won in those terms; you have really achieved failure!
Therefore failures won’t hurt you that much if you define success in more meaningful ways. Understand success in terms of fulfilling the purpose for which you have been created. The eagle who flies high, the lion who stalks majestically, and the ant who gathers its food in summer are all examples of fulfillment of purpose. Isn’t it interesting to note that these creatures of instinct do not envy each other? They are content to play their role in life and play it well.
In this sense, failures can ultimately happen only to those who do not discover their purpose in life. As I read somewhere, the greatest tragedy in life is to stand at the end of it and see that it was wasted. It happens because one fails to discover one’s role in life. Without such a discovery aimless drifting becomes the norm. It not only leads to wasted resources and talents; but also wastage of time.
Therefore if you wish to succeed in life; marry time and fall in love with it. If you make time your best companion, it will help you succeed in life. Know that, only time spend brooding over failures is lost. Instead, be sure to streamline the best time available to forge ahead in the purpose you have identified in life. And let that purpose in life be good!
Finally, the best thing about failures is that it teaches humility. It teaches that sunshine and shadows, clouds and rain; all do have a purpose in making flowers bloom. It births a beauty; a loveliness and a fragrance that reverberates to the best in man. Thus the man who has failed and then wins, has a deep sense of sympathy towards fellowmen. He then becomes willing to lift up a man down in the ditch when he sees one; gift him with one of his best smiles and an encouraging word, and offer him the hope of sunrise beyond the lengthening shadows of lost time and opportunities!
Jesus Christ of Nazareth!
“Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light” (Micah 7:8b/Bible).