failing is not the end

This is something they don’t teach you in school.

In fact, they teach you the opposite in school.

Avoid the F at all cost! 

School is all about making the ‘grade’, ‘fitting in’, doing the best, but if you think about it, aside of gaining knowledge, you are also learning the way the ‘system’ wants you to think. Straight A’s translate to young and promising – the system would have you think, there’s only one supreme way to get a decent ‘experience’ out of life – that is to make above ‘x’ number of ‘x currency’ a year and work for a great company that would take care of you in the long term.

You are standardized.

Your name and thoughts bubbled in on the response sheet.

It is all oddly impersonal, until the grade comes back and at times the number is something less than ideal. And the school system is quick to weed out those under-performers, as if, issuing the death sentence of ‘try harder next time, or there’s no hope for you in this world, you’ll never have a nice life, thanks for playing.’

Sure, we could say, ‘that’s not fair’, but how long before we drop the belief/attitude that your teacher/boss has something against you and the world is not fair, to something more introspective.

Everything from less than ideal grades to poor performance reviews stack up against you and your internal monologues starts to sound something like:

I have failed.

I have failed repeatedly.

I am a failure.

What will I do?

There are times in my life when I thought it was the dreaded end.

All had failed, I had failed and there was no recovering from that grand epic failure, and all I wanted to do was to dig a hole in the ground and put my head in it much like an ostrich.

The truth is – we all have failed at one thing or another in our lives, on both minor and major things. And if you start thinking about it this way then your failure is not so ‘exclusive’ to you, nor is it the big life ending embarrassment that you thought it was.

Admitting failure takes courage.

No one wants to be singled out and deemed ‘incompetent’ – and at times the best of us, avoids trying out new things, preferring the ‘safe’ route, for fear of labeled as such.

Taking a step back however, I’ve come to realize maybe failure is not such a bad thing.

1. Failures make us think: re-examine our approaches and perspectives.

2. Failures teach us depth: test the strength and integrity of our characters.

3. Failures teach us resilience.

4. Failures make us better equipped in life.

5. Failures keep us grounded and focused.

6. Failures make us more empathetic towards others.

7. Failures make us appreciate our eventual triumphs more than those who did not experience failure.

8. Failures teach us basic principles of life: we’re all different. There’s 7 billion people on the planet right now, with 7 billion different versions of reality – what you think is a ‘grand’ failure might only be true in your version of reality, but in another person’s it could just be an ‘opportunity’ a break to guide them onto their ‘aha’ epiphany. There’s no ‘standardizing’ the masses. As I firmly believe, through my many failures, failure is necessary, and dare I say, not only is failure the mother of success, but without failure there is no success

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