REJOICE – FAILURE IS NOT THE END!

If you ever fail . . .

No wait, that’s not the correct statement to begin with!

In life it’s not about ‘if you fail’, but about ‘when you fail’. Failure is an inevitable part of life. We all encounter failure at different stages of our lives – be it a failure in academics at school or college level, failure in securing a job of one’s choice, failure in marrying a beloved, failure in sustaining a marriage, failure in begetting children, failure in giving happiness to others, failure in exercising self-control over our passions and temptations, and on go the variations.

Be prepared

Don’t be surprised when failure greets you unawares. The best of your preparation may end up in a failure. Hence, being prepared for outcomes of all sorts minimizes the jerks given by failures.

Avoid negative people

Avoid the company of people who point out to your failure time and again and make you feel that you are worth nothing. Negative people breed negativity. Hence, quit their company.

Don’t closet yourself

Don’t allow yourself to wallow in self-pity. Don’t shut yourself in a room for long, shedding endless tears. After a brief mourning period, gather yourself and mingle with like-minded understanding people. Sometime back I met up with a friend to cheer her up as she was going through a gloomy phase having not cleared an exam (which I myself had not cleared too) after a lot of hard work. Sensing that she needed to venture out from her room, I suggested that we go out to have dinner. We went to an eatery not far from where we were staying. As we placed the order for food, I noticed that there was a big group, around 10-12, sitting in front of us. From there conversation, I gathered that all of them had not cleared the same exam and wanted to wind up the episode in an upbeat manner before gearing up for the next phase!

Forge positive relationships

Be in the presence of people who would lift you up and show you the silver lining beneath the dark thundering clouds. Encouragement and motivation work wonders in boosting up the morale when you feel like giving up.

Gear up for what is to come next

It is natural to feel dejected and sink into sadness (or depression in extreme cases) when you fail. But, that robs away the time to prepare for what is to come next. So, do not allow yourself to brood over your failures for long. Gird yourself for what is to come next.

Speaking from personal experience (and many of you would agree to it too), the day after experiencing the failure generally hits the hardest. When you open your eyes the next morning after an almost sleepless night and come face to face with reality, everything seems blank and there arises a sinking feeling within. This is exactly when you need to pick up the reins and brace yourself for the next phase.

Failure may be a one day occurrence that hits hard (a relationship break up/an academic failure/losing in a game) or a phase that lingers on for quite some time (financial debt/deteriorating marriage). And, not many have the ability to bounce back and be in high spirits immediately. We have grown up with the famous saying – ‘Failure is the stepping stone to success.’ But, rarely does this saying give an instant kick when the sky is falling apart over us.

I really like the concept of ‘Failing forward’ given by America’s leadership expert John C. Maxwell who has penned a book by the same title too. Failing Forward is the belief that dealing with failure intelligently will be the driver to improve further on in life. So, don’t let failure squeeze the life out of you. Give yourself a pat on the back, assess the loopholes and look ahead to mend them. There is always light at the end of a tunnel!

When you fail, remember you are not alone.

When you fail, remember you tried.

When you fail, remember this is not the end of the road.

When you fail, remember God is still in control.

Knowing that God is in control has helped me to bounce back in the face of failures and rejoice with the understanding that the failure was for a purpose and is not meant to be the end of the road.

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FAILURES IN THE FACE OF REALITY

“Dare to Dream”

“Failures are stepping stones to success”

We are taught these day and night since our school days. We are made to memorize the famous quotes of some learned humans. But what happens when it is the time to actually draw inspiration from these quotes and make them breathing oxygen for you? What happens when you really want to be one of those learned human? What really happens when you consider Failures a stepping stone to Success?

The reality of life hits you right on your face. Failures are so bad that it seems impossible to rise again. Failures make you lose your confidence to an extent that there is nothing left inside you to start all over again. But still you believe that “Failures are stepping stones to success” and you wonder, how many more “stepping stones”. It becomes difficult to carry on, yet deep inside your heart you believe these quotes that you mugged up at school.

And then the worst happens, people who love you and care for you worry about you a little too much. They fear the failure more than you do. And so just when you begin to take a step ahead after recovering from the failure, they pull you down with a force that is impossible to conquer. No, not because they don’t want you to succeed but because they know it will break them to see you go through another stepping stone and they aren’t ready for it.

How do you deal with this? What do you do to make them believe in your passion? They will not believe because they blinded by their worry for you. The same people, who once told you to be courageous when you were young, now want you to give up. Do you give up your passion or do you give up the relationship of your loved ones?

I have been through such dilemmas and I am going through one now. I would like to believe that beyond a point more you are pulled back into negativity, higher you bounce back in positivity. More you are pulled back in your failure, higher you will raise in your success. I wish this is true.

I believe in the prayers. I believe that it all works out for good and I want to tell my readers that there is always a light beyond those dark days of failure. Believe in Him and yourself, the reason you are being pulled into a failure is to make sure that you are really passionate about what you say you are.

All the best! Keep dreaming and keep failing – beyond those dark failures lies the real taste of success and that is something I would love to believe.

IT’S TIME TO PARTY NOW… I FAILED ONE MORE TIME !!

“I feel so lost Aastha. I did work hard, so many late nights, many iterations of refinement, many tries, I see no success. This is my dream to be able to make this venture work, trust me, I gave all that I could. I don’t know what I can do differently to make this work. The final option for me is to quit my job and fully concentrate on my venture, but that would push me into complete crisis in terms of finances. What do I do?“, this is what he said holding my hand, with tears in his eyes

My friend is quite matured, is very well aware of the risks he was taking. He was prepared for the struggle that’s gonna last long and yet, he wanted to do. I consoled him for then since it was already late in the evening, but promised to meet him the next day. I opened up my laptop, reviewed all his work for the past one year, took my notes, came up with some ideas, but most importantly, I see that he is upset, very much with himself, that required to be treated before anything else.  

What is a failure ???

I am not asking about failures that lead to tremendous successes .. Plain, simple failure , what is it ?

Being unable to achieve ‘something’ that we wanted is failure, it can be big or small. There is a lot of stigma that we have put around failure, which is causing us not to see the good it has brought. Failure is a milestone, it tells us what we did right, what we could have done differently and most importantly what can go wrong. Our assumptions are often invalidated during turbulent times, we are not prepared and hence we do fail. If you think about it, failure is just feedback; it’s simply showing you what’s not working so you can find out what will work.

Failure isn’t bad, then why do we feel so devastated, lost and depressed when we fail ? Sometimes because it has implications on the stability of our life, career or finances, hence it inadvertently makes us feel bad. But many times, the effect is not so huge. Even In such situations where the impact is less, we tend to feel sad, where in being more happy would make us feel better.

When I was going through a training, I got to know that there are companies that celebrate failures, they throw parties and give away awards for those who failed. I was not very surprised by the concept itself because, even at our homes, irrespective of how good or not so good the kids perform in education or sport they are given some goodies. So we are actually not taught failure is bad or we shall never fail, however we inferred this understanding from the how the world perceives failure. I asked myself, “what do I do when I fail ?” Surprisingly, nothing. 

Oh, that’s not a good sign. I thought of celebrating failures. I will treat myself with the most exotic flavor of ice-cream. As I started doing this often I realized, I started liking the phase of failure, it relieves me off being upset faster and let’s me think more clearly.

We made the conscious decision of what we chose and due to uncontrollable factors which caused the failure. There is always a second chance, a better thought, a different way of looking at things. Even when we think differently, we may not succeed, we may end up failing many times, but every time we fail we are only getting better at what we are doing , more wiser and are a step closer to success. So, let’s celebrate our small success, that’s the better way of calling it, isn’t it ?

CELEBRATING FAILURES

We all celebrate success. We throw a party, call up friends and family or go out for dinner or a date, or if we’re alone, we let our hair down and unwind with a drink or do something we have been wanting to do, that helps us relax. Some pious folks pray for their achievements and do poojas or make an offering to their Gods. While some lucky ones celebrate by going out on a vacation!

Celebrating success is a natural outcome of our happiness and achievement. It’s a way of rewarding ourselves for our hard work.  But what about celebrating failures though? Do we ever give a thought to that?

‘Why?’, you ask. ‘What’s to celebrate in failures?’

Good question! I’ll ask you a question in return, “What does failure teach us?”

It teaches us that we need to do better. It teaches us patience, humility. It teaches us the value of hard work and how to wait for the right opportunity. But most importantly, it teaches us not to give up!

With so many good lessons to teach us, how can failure be bad?

You may counter by pointing out that it feels bad when we fail. Sometimes the failure is a huge setback to our attempts. Yes, it does feel bad, specially if it’s happened to you more than once for the same thing. Most of us take failure very seriously. We become depressed, enraged, desolate, hopeless and withdraw into ourselves. It’s normal to feel that way when we fail.

But say, if you were to enjoy your failure, would it do you any harm? Say if you couldn’t pass an important test that you were preparing for, would it be so bad if, after failing, you throw away your sour mood and declare, ‘Oh, so what?! I’ll try again. Harder!’ And then you proceed to call out your friends for dinner, and your friends tell you the same thing, ‘You’ll do better next time”. And you will! Because you have already made up your mind to try harder again. That serves as positive reinforcement for your brain, the party and your own will to try again. It sends your brain the signal that you do not take defeat as a full stop to your attempts.

Positive reinforcement is a Psychology term that roughly means being awarded for a certain kind of behavior. We frequently use this in everyday life to motivate ourselves. Even organisations have long been using this to motivate their employees to aim higher and get better results. An example is how you tell yourself while slogging for your exams, “Just this one week and then I’ll have all the time in the world”, or how a dog is trained by giving it a treat for good behavior. The benefit of positive reinforcement is that we condition ourselves to perform better in order to get that reward, till it becomes our habit to perform better.

This is what celebrating failure does to you. When your brain looks at failure as a reason to celebrate, it conditions itself to not give in to depressing thoughts and instead looks for that rewarding incident/thing that reinforces its will to strive harder, while enjoying the process of trying again.

Celebrating failure need not come only in the form of a reward or a celebration. You could choose the way you want to celebrate differently than the usual connotations of ‘celebrating’. You could meditate, or try a new activity, or try another way of achieving the same goal. You could tell yourself, ‘Regardless of whether I succeed or fail in this attempt, I will do a certain thing to enjoy myself’. Remember, enjoying yourself while you strive to attain something is as important as making the effort itself. Otherwise the task will seem tedious, and you will be inclined to fail more because of mental tiredness than actual lack of capability.

The aim of celebrating failure is NOT the celebration itself;

It is to overcome the depression of failure and the fear of failing again. 

Do the following when you feel you’re becoming depressed over your failure – 

  1. Stop blaming yourself.
  2. Think of things to calm yourself down, like meditation, or a movie you like, or a hangout you like to go to.
  3. Surround yourself with people who support you; don’t drive them away.
  4. Look inwards and identify the reasons why you failed.
  5. After you have identified the causes, decide to either avoid those causes the next time, or try harder to overcome them, or plan another route.
  6. Now go ahead, have a blast. Chances are, by the time you come to this step, you will have already overcome your depression.

Our failures are our means to be a better person. They teach us to strive harder, be smarter about our choices and they teach us that success is not an easily earned thing. Think of all those achievers in history who have had successful lives – M.S. Dhoni, Rafael Nadal, Leonardo DiCaprio, Aishwarya Rai, Gita Phogat... Do you think they never faced failures, flops, being shunned by someone, being called ‘inadequate’? But they didn’t stop at their failures. They treated them as lessons and went on to the next project they had. They did not dwell on their past and their mistakes. If they had given up and succumbed to depression, we wouldn’t know their names today.

If you are still not convinced why celebrating failure is better than mourning them, click on this link and watch this inspirational video by Elizabeth Gilbert, the Author of ‘Eat, Pray, Love‘, who talks about how she overcame the fear of writing a book that wouldn’t match up with the success of Eat, Pray, Love, while also discussing how she overcame recurring failures to become a successful writer. I love it when she says, “I love writing more than I hate failing at writing”. That is why she couldn’t give up on writing in spite of her failures, because writing was ‘home’ for her. That is real passion for your work!

Remember, the most difficult part of overcoming failure is the attempt to overcome it. Celebrating it helps in making it easier for you to overcome that fear.

Let not failure defeat you.

Let it be a stepping stone to your next success.

I’ll leave you with the words of the great leader Winston Churchill,

 

Success consists of going from failure to failure, without loss of enthusiasm.

 

Pradita Kapahi

NO ENDURING SECRETS

Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, observed, “Mortals can keep no secret. If their lips are silent, they gossip with their fingers; betrayal forces its way through every pore.”

Tip toe… tip toe…

She silently walked across the snow,

Jumping down to the street below,

All in the moonlight’s faint streaking glow.

Clutching the prized treasure,

Which she knew, was beyond measure,

She retained her composure,

Till she felt at leisure – much to her satisfaction and pleasure!

Ah! Straight she fell into the cops’ snare,

How she wished that it was just a nightmare!

Only if she would have been aware,

Never to her friend the secret share!

From ear to mouth and from mouth to ear,

Words pass on with great zest and cheer,

Showing many a lustrous veneer,

Or with a coat of murky mire smeared.

Betrayal looms large when secrets are out,

After which it makes no sense to crib and pout.

It sows the seeds of mistrust and doubt,

And breaks all relations howsoever devout.

The Whoosh whoosh whispers,

That among many friends transpires,

Oft breaks hearts and leads others to quagmires,

It sure is not cosy to nestle in the briars!

Neither a gossipmonger nor a secret-leaker be…

It takes a whisker to be a bleaker,

In someone’s world of rainbows,

Temptations to spill others’ beans always do disallow.

Keep the secrets shared with you,

Close to your heart.

Do not let anyone,

Throw a fiery dart.

Twice should you think,

Before leaving behind a slimy link,

Or venturing too far into the brink,

Bear in mind – even the whistle of the air can carry the slightest clink.

For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed,

Nothing concealed that will remain unknown,

The Omniscient Almighty holds the keys to them all,

Doesn’t matter whether big or small.

There’s wisdom in keeping your slate clean,

So that you can bountiful rewards glean,

When all would be unveiled,

You would surely proudly beam and gleam.

formations

WHO KNOWS MOST OF MY SECRETS??

The question in the title of this article is not a new one, we all ask ourselves at some point or the other, may not be to find who that is, or out of fear but may be to reach out to our trusted one. 

Let me reveal who knows all of my silly tantrums and darkest secrets.

We used to have a garden, very big one. As my dad used to be busy at office, evening duty of watering the plants was mine.  Well, I love plants but the primary reason was I love water. I had a collection of nozzles using which I used to sprinkle water all in the air ( I call it the rain effect :p ) Only she and I knew how much I loved transforming a stream of water to create the artificial rain. 

By rain I recollect, on our terrace at my hometown, we have lot of creepers. So, the drain pipe used for draining rain water is usually kept closed to avoid dried leaves from blocking it. If it rains heavily during summer, we don’t get a chance to remove it and the entire terrace gets filled with a feet deep of water and only one person is authorised to open the cover of the drain hole, that’s me. Lol.. I will go on to the terrace and play with water before I let them drain , again only she knows how mischievous I can get, to be with water …

I love dancing in the rain. 100% of my friends are not aware of this and atleast 99% think I cannot dance, but she does know about it very well…. 

A warm shower can make my day anytime, no matter how worse the situation is, the more time I spend in solitude under warm running water, I feel all the more better. This may sound strange, I speak during shower,  but that helps !! She knows all about it.

warmshower

Tears are my best friend. My pillow is the worst hit. When I get hurt, irrespective of where I am, amid of how many people, I can only control water works for some time, after which I have to find a washroom. I will cry my heart out, throw a splash of water on my face and come out as if nothing has ever happened. I deceive others but she is well aware of my pain.

Who keeps all my secrets? It’s her – water… In my earlier life I would have been a mermaid or some species that lives in water. The connect I feel with water is so strong. Sometimes, I just wonder how my life would have been without her… As much I love her company,  I have other friends whom I really trust and share a special bond with.

I never share many of my feelings with anyone, primarily I think that’s because I am an introvert. This not so sharing personality of mine makes it easy for me to not only hide but keep secrets. There are a ton of secrets I have with me, of mine and others too, but believe me it’s not a burden at all.

I often find myself in situations when I know secrets about a couple of my friends in my girls group, but I have to stay all silent as if I have no clue on what they are talking about. I feel satisfied when another person can believe in my honesty and feel so deeply connected to me to be revealing their secrets. They are etched in my heart and would never come out. 

I think we need to play two roles effectively to be able to keep and accept secrets.

As a keeper of secret, to understand the situation of the other person, what s/he feels, the untold emotions around it, to respect their trust in us.

When we are disclosed about a secret of loved one, it obviously hurts because we care for them from the bottom of our heart, but they loved us too. That is why they couldn’t see us in pain, and love is the only reason why the secret is kept from us. Let go of what has happened, it was intentional but not to harm us.

The idea that certain things in life – and in the universe – don’t yield up their secrets is something that requires a slightly more mature reader to accept. –Samuel R. Delany

BE THE TRUSTED ALLY

“You should become a counselor”, suggested my sister. I was the eldest among the cousins. And I was always helping out my younger siblings with some or the other problems as well as keeping their secrets. Even today this happens, my friends find it easy to share their secrets with me and also look towards me for help when they are in a jam.

Through experience I have understood a few things,

  • Everyone has secrets, mostly it is something so embarrassing or potentially harming to their current relationships, that they want to bury deep down.
  • Yet on the other hand everyone is looking for an ally to share their secrets with.  Sharing with some trusted person makes the burden on your heart feel lighter.
  • Don’t judge a person by his or her secrets.  That’s the first rule if someone is confiding in you. We all have done some things in our life that we regret or are embarrassed about.
  • And second rule is do not betray their confidence in you by leaking their secrets.

These are my foot rules. One exception to this rule is when the secret is something illegal or wrong doing. Like a few years back when my son was small and in his talks with me he revealed. That his friend had confided in him that he shoplifted a chocolate from the nearby departmental store and since he did not get caught he will try to do it again. Now this is something I could not hide. I simply had to tell his mother or else the child’s whole future was at stake.

I too have my share of secrets. Thankfully I have a husband from whom I don’t have to hide much. Recently when I had to write an article about my first crush I wrote about and incident from my college days. I had never discussed it with my hubby earlier. So technically it was a secret from him. I was so worried about his reaction once it got published. To my relief we both had a big laugh about it. There was absolutely no negative reaction. Of course there was no need for him to be upset also but still in my mind I was imaging a lot of things.

Not all secrets are deep and dark. Some are just a little bit of fun on the way side. Like a student bunking a class for a movie, or a lunch party with friends that no one in the house knows about. These small fun secrets are more fun if you share it with a friend.

So dear friends, you too can analyze your secrets. Do you really want to carry a burden on your chest for a long long time? Or is it better to share with a trusted person.  Sometimes the things are not as bad as they seem to us. Getting another person’s perspective helps.

A word of caution though! One of my favorite chick lit authors is Sophie Kinsella. In her novel ‘Can you keep a secret?’ The protagonist is travelling on an airplane. And once when it hits a major turbulence and she is sure she is gonna die, she blurts out her deepest darkest secrets to the stranger beside her.  At the end of the flight she is relieved that not only the flight is over but she has gotten a few things off her chest. But the next morning when she reaches office to her horror she realizes that her mid air confidant is her new boss. She is mortified and to make matters worse her boss decides to use her confessions to launch a new ad campaign. As you all can imagine her whole life turns topsy turvy. So dear friends choose your confidant with care.

My take on life is look for a trusted ally in your life and it will make your life easier. Or better still be the strong trusted friend in someone else’s life.