In the past two weeks I have been sharing about myself, my wallet and Ikechi, the guy who helped save my wallet. I’m sure you really were inspired by those stories. I want to thank all who commented and connected with Ikechi after the series. So here comes a new line of thought tagged ‘Controlled Failure:’ How not to make failing fatal. I will therefore start today’s #MondaySuccessReflections with a subtitle, You can make Failing intentional!
Ours today is a world where failure is commonplace, both in terms of people we consider as failures and how we see ourselves as failures in most cases. I thought it was good to ask ourselves in such a time therefore, how can failure be taken as not fatal? Is it possible to live a life you take control over failure in a way that it does not diminish your self-worth or tarnish your self-image?
I am of the school of thought that failing to meet a goal, target or objective must not always mean you have failed. I can as well mean you have learnt how to get better…. We will x-ray four points on how to control failure and not make failing fatal, beginning with the first idea. Now, this is not a point you may agree with but just give me a break!
• You can make Failing Intentional
Have you ever for one day decided to go into a game that you are sure you’ll not win? Conventional thinking sees that as stupid act to do. How can someone in his right senses take a fight he knows he’ll lose? You know you think that way too. But the truth is that there are too many lessons you can learn when you allow yourself to intentionally engage in activities you are pretty sure would not turn out positively. So, making failing intentional does not really mean deciding to fail but deciding to take a noble action even when you know you may fail in it.
I learnt about a Chinese child genius was normal routine was to be subjected to activities he knew he would actually fail. As you continuously do so, you become so bold to face failure that you are no longer afraid to try anything. You will end up building persistence against failure and never take failing as the end to your dreams. This is one of the easiest ways to learn how to handle failure.
Let me ask you this. Did Paul, the Apostle know he was going to die if he goes to Jerusalem as prophesied by Agabus and yet decided to go there? Did Jesus know that He was going to be crucified by His own people and yet decided to go to them? Maybe I am being too spiritual but what about Thomas Edison whom history tells us about one of his experiments that took about a thousand trials before he finally got a successful result? Did you think he knew the 504th Trial will turn out positive? I don’t think so. Yet these men intentionally decided to take actions that almost anyone would consider an action leading to failure. They were willing to fail because they considered that failing could control them.
From my personal experience, I have learnt this principle. I have not always competed because I knew I was going to win. Sometimes, I had intentionally participated in activities I knew I was going to fail because I needed the feedbacks to be able to re-launch my attack more effectively. I am currently on Australian Government Scholarship, but it was not always so. It took me another four years to be offered two prestigious scholarships in Australia at the same time.
Before then, I had applied to schools in USA, Canada, Europe as well as the same University I currently hold a scholarship at. As a matter of fact, I cannot count the number of scholarships I have applied for in my life. I didn’t do all that because of determination per se, because for so many of them I knew I was not going to get them but I still went on. Someone will call me a fool but I was looking for something. I was looking for one person who will tell me what it takes to gain an international scholarship or one person who will comment on my potential to gain one.
So one day, I got a message from a woman in UK saying, “I am only constraint from taking you on my research programme because of just one thing. You have not lived in UK for up to three years. But I am sure that with the quality of your CV, you will surely get a position someday.” Now, I heard that several times after I had applied several times without headway. It was then I knew that failing to gain a scholarship does not mean I was never going to get one if I learn the right lessons, put them to practice and keep applying.
When you know you will fail and still go on to try a thing, that is what I call courage. That is what I consider the right attitude toward success and failure. That is what makes the difference between someone who eventually succeed and another who will end up miserable with unfulfilled dreams.
My desire today is that you learn this lesson, to make it hard for failing to become fatal as you continue to pursue your dream. Decide to take that step even when you sense the possibility of not succeeding. You never know what can come out of it.
I still remain…..
Your friend in Success and Excellence
Apeh Omede is the founder of LifeExcel International, a youth-led organisation working to help youths achieve personal leadership, development, purpose, and passion for their lives so they can excel in life. You can follow his blog here.