We are fast learners. Little setbacks instill quick and easy lessons. For instance in the life of a student, they learn how to prepare for any exam counter intuitively.
“Read the physics book from the first year BSc (Bachelor of Science) program,” advised a fellow hard worker in 12th grade once.
He had learned that his physics professor chose questions ahead of grade and to really crack the exam, we all not only had to peruse through our fat physics book, but sometimes skip portions of it and just reach for that book from university. After all, how important is hard work, if your score is still mediocre?
We wake up each day, hop out of bed, clean up and go to work. Why?
“I have to put my kid through college” once replied a coworker of mine, answering an innocent question of mine (Why are we here?) in the context of a big picture.
We were feverishly occupied with a “do-or-die” issue, way past sunset. Doom was written on each face. We were the unwilling participants of the steep demise of our day. Our loved ones were told to not wait for us for supper that night. We had failed but yet not allowing ourselves to fail. We were busy putting in all the fixes, all the measures to be able to deploy before daybreak a feature our customer yet hadn’t felt love for.
Without failing, we sustained endlessly. A little bandage would fix a little leak. What was needed instead was an epic failure, one that halts your life, changes your lifestyle and makes you ask yourself the question, “Dummy, what are you doing in your life?!”
That reset is terribly important!
My childhood was one of being fiercely sheltered by my parents. Now, a mother of two, I observe I shelter my kids just as I shelter myself out of an age-old experience.
There is a cost associated with a lack of failure. I feel success of certain magnitude warrants failure of a certain magnitude as well. Because both succeeding and failing catastrophically reside in the same place of risk taking.
When J.K. Rowling was writing Harry Potter, she was a single parent, and had no money. She did not have heat in her apartment, so would write in a cafe. She was rejected 12 times before a small London house picked up “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.” But what if she had settled for less? I do not mean succumbing to the 12 rejections, I mean she did just the usual – wake up, pay bills, sleep and avoid the possibility 12 or more failures?
Fail instead to rise to a better place. Chase your dreams like a fanatic. Do not let another day burn itself away. And, if you find yourself failing hard, remind yourself that victory may be so close as long as you do not give up. Brush off the dust, stand tall again and do it all over again.