Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted. one moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip? ~ Lose Yourself Eminem
Are we ever prepared or let me rephrase can one be prepared enough to buffer themselves from failure? Well let me give you my biggest failure so far, the one time I hit the floor so hard I broke a bone or two, not literally though. It all started a year ago I think, I had applied for something, you know those things you just apply for and actually don’t think too much about? Yes those! There is no response from these guys so I forget about it all, then six months down the line my email lights up. I have an email dedicated for these things, on this even spam is rare because I never subscribe to anything with it and I ensure I clear it promptly and it has all items read and actioned,
I know actioned is not an actual word but you get what I mean yes? This mail sort of revives hope, it excites me about the new possibilities presented, I respond the mail and for another 8 months there is no communication. Then after this long period my mail lights up again with an invite for an interview I had almost forgot about all this, but there was a sense of excitement of new possibilities ignited within.
Over five hundred people are in this first stage, I meet a guy I went to high school with and a friend I interned with few years back in this stage, as they say, all dreams are valid and have to be pursued. Eight hours later I leave feeling drained and decide to just forget about it. Guess what? Lady luck is smiling at me and two weeks later I am called for a second phase of the selection process about two hundred of us. My stomach is tight through-out the process and I mess up at some point but recover. I leave on low spirits. I meet a friend who has been through the process and over lunch (I mentioned here I never say no to free food ey) he tells me not to fret it, I keep a brave face but I am freaked out inside. Again I manage the cut off and proceed to the next stage. Now I begin taking it seriously, I start seeing possibilities, chances that the light at the end of the tunnel is the sun shining and not an oncoming train.
The number is now at about hundred, but then at this stage things get brutal after an hour of intense testing and sweaty palms, optimism levels here go down again and I decide you know what come what may you will be prepared to face… Luckily whatever came out next, I could handle, so were the 40 others. This one was an impersonal test after which we are told to be patient about thirty had progressed to the next stage. Now hopes are really high, I would check email first thing in the morning, midday and evening just in case. Then came the final lap, the one where you could see the finish line, thirty people chasing to take the top three. I summoned all my energies and gave it my best shot, but I had worthy competition, I came third runners-up and was cut out oh the presentation of a medal on that ‘ka podium’.
This is where I became haunted by the number four nightmare, number five is better when bearing a loss, but number four haunts you! You always think to yourself, “is there anything I could have done to get to that finish line a millisecond earlier?” but with time you have to embrace failure and move on. But if it is something you really wanted you still have the power to determine where you go after failure, after it all some dreams stay dreams and others come true, it all depends on your attitude yes?
Failure as a learning opportunity: Image from the internet
Here are some quotes I stumbled on as I was trying to embrace my failure
- Failure teaches you that you are not the smartest man in the world and that sometimes you need help. But do not let it beat you and hold you down. Let it propel you
- If you have not failed today, then you have not tried hard enough
- Overachievers, like entrepreneurs, are very hard on themselves. They grapple with failure
- It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.~ Theodore Roosevelt
- If you do not act for fear of failure, how will you create anything of meaning? Akhil Nigam
- Failure is followed by success – I hope this rings true
I also found this article on Entrepreneur.com about embracing and learning how to manage failure by Dan Pickett quite helpful.
What has been your experience with failure and how did you deal with it? Please share.