Failure – When you realise you were good just not good enough

04 Jun

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

  1. 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
  2. If you have not failed today, then you have not tried hard enough
  3. Overachievers, like entrepreneurs, are very hard on themselves. They grapple with failure
  4. It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.~ Theodore Roosevelt
  5. If you do not act for fear of failure, how will you create anything of meaning? Akhil Nigam
  6. Failure is followed by success – I hope this rings true

I also found this article on 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.


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7 responses to “Failure – When you realise you were good just not good enough

  1. woolie

    June 4, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    You did really well to make that final shortlist given the huge number at the beginning of the process. Now I have my own way of dealing with failure…I throw my toys out of the pram, scream and shout and then fall down and roll on the floor. Just the same as I do when I succeed. 🙂

    Great post, Mackel9

    • mackel9

      June 4, 2014 at 1:16 pm

      Great, now I know exactly what to do, especially the rolling… 😀
      Thank you Woolie 🙂

  2. Savvy Kenya (@savvykenya)

    June 6, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    Oh Mackel9, I know when everyone is lining up for that dream job/scholarship and you get all the way to the end, only to be dropped at the very last stage. You know how I learned to deal with it? I told myself that really, I did my best but God/whoever is in charge of my destiny/fate never intended me to end up there. That was not the path my life is to take and I must accept it, and realize I will still curve my happiness along a different path.

    • mackel9

      June 6, 2014 at 6:55 pm

      You think happiness awaits me at a different destination? So I should look at it not as a failure but rather a redirection to the true path to happiness ey?
      Coping is hard, but I guess you have to embrace the fact that you failed and as you say just move on, life goes on. Thank you for your wise words Savvy 🙂

  3. Alex

    July 3, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
    ― Thomas Edison

    I always find that a glib quote from a dead man makes me feel much better. 🙂

    Better luck next time, Mr M.

    • mackel9

      July 4, 2014 at 5:05 pm

      I don’t know about next time I will be too old… but hey we live we learn yes?

      But still you will have to agree with me sometimes there are things that would like to work out the first time ey?


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