Accepting Failure: Traits of the Successful
Failure has so many negative feelings associated with it. Often, when you ask people what their greatest fear is, many would be quick to say "the fear of failure." However, if one is so fearful of failure, how far can they really explore?
My favourite topic of discussion is children and their growth, and that is where I’ll start. When Allah created man, He created him to be an inquirer. Babies and toddlers have the most “failures" in their lives. Their bottle drops off their hands continuously, they have bed-wetting "accidents" and they stumble and fall several times, but does that stop them from exploring, trying and eventually succeeding?
Let’s consider this story:
One day there was a frog that fell into a ditch. He was stuck there for hours before other frogs found him and came around the ditch to support him. They encouraged him and told him he could jump out. The little frog in the ditch regained hope and started hopping, jumping higher and higher. But as the hours passed, his new friends realized what a long way he had to go and just knew he couldn't come out of the ditch. They told him not to try anymore; if he did, the log he was trying to hop on would lose balance and fall on him, trapping and killing him.
"Stop! Stop! There is no way out!" they said and -the atmosphere was getting very tense -the little frog stopped for a while to reassess the situation. His little legs were getting tired and the heat in the ditch was starting to get to him. He looked up to his friends and knew he had to keep going. The little frog attempted a few more jumps and finally freed himself.
As soon as he was out of the ditch, they all gathered around the frog and started asking him what kept him going. Looked puzzled, he raised his little frog hands to his ears and they understood then that the little frog was deaf.
However, he made sure to smile at everyone and show gratitude to them all, he wrote something on the ground that read,
"Thank you all for your encouragement, it kept me going."
Is it perhaps important to turn off the negative messages we get from people who are sure we cannot do it? Is it actually a blessing for children not to be born with language; they therefore cannot understand when we say, "no, don't touch/try/do or you will fall"?
As human beings, we are naturally born to be inquirers and proper inquiry never happens when one is reserved and holds back due to a fear of failure.
The greatest inventors and inspirers were all people who came out of their comfort zones. They were not fearful of failing while trying out new ideas. "I have not failed, I have found ten thousand ways that won't work" said Thomas Edison when he finally figured out the material he needed for the light bulb to work.
And can you imagine what would have been of Islam had the Prophet (peace be upon him) given up after he visited Taif in search for supporters but ended up leaving the city soaked in blood?
In life there is never failure. There is only feedback.
By attempting to do things, you realize what works and what does not. You can barely learn anything from a person who has all the degrees in the world but has not put them to practice, nor can you learn patience from a person who has never gone through any difficulties.
So, is it time to rename failure to feedback and to block out negative input from unwanted sources and from within?
Steve Job's advice on failure was:
"Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
So, what are you waiting for? Is it not time to pursue your dreams and get onto the "ship of success"? What makes any other person more worthy of success than you?
So remember, in order to succeed, you've got to try different approaches; the more you do, the higher your chances of failing and the more failures you have, the higher your chance of success!
photo credit: photo credit: 'PixelPlacebo' cc and Cea. via photopin cc