One of the questions professionals, business leaders, entrepreneurs etc always get is, “What is the success formula you used?” It is assumed that most of the successful people have planned their career and they got what they dreamed for. We always share success stories of professional, entrepreneur, leaders but we never share failure stories. We forget that the success stories which you read or listen to are hardly 10% and there are almost 90% failure stories.
You can learn from success stories but you can learn more from failure stories.
After the graduations, there were very few employment opportunities. Initial days were tough for me and my generation. I was doing small jobs only to get some money. I was not enjoying those jobs. My bosses were terrific, my employers were not that good. Others were getting good jobs and good salaries. I was thinking, I was a failure, alone all the way. However, I always learnt whatever came to me. I learnt so many things, I learnt dealing with difficult people, I learnt to work hard, I worked till late night. Though the jobs, managers and employers were difficult, my family members, colleagues and friends were good. Till late night we used to spend time and have fun mimicking others. We shared the same bonding, same emotions. We used to share food and borrow money from each other.
They were the same as me, living in a small house, their struggles were not different, they also needed their jobs to keep going. In fact, they were much senior than me and had a lot of family responsibilities.
I learnt a big lesson from them, and that is keep going…
I was also trying to get a good job with a good salary. I was rejected by a few companies because of various reasons, like bad English, lack of confidence, or just my poor presentation skills.
Failing one time or even several times doesn’t make you a failure any more than losing one game makes you a loser. Failure can be a great teacher, great mentor. Failure makes you stronger. Failure keeps you grounded.
I became stronger day by day. It kept me grounded and humbled. I was among those youths, who perhaps would get frustrated, disappointed, depressed but I was different from them and that is I never took failures personally. I learnt lessons from each failure.
All my failures taught me followings:
Being grounded and realistic: I was expecting too much from me. I wanted to be successful fast without understanding my limitations. If English is the hurdle to get a good job, I learnt English. I spent sleepless nights watching English shows, news channels, reading newspapers and books to develop the English language and vocabulary. Whenever I used to learn any new English word, I used to write it in a notebook. I used to make sure to use that word during the next conversation. With the permission of my employer, I took another job in English Daily to edit their late night editions. I made mistakes in the language that I learnt daily. This helped me manifold. I learned language skills; I improved my vocabulary; I gained knowledge on multiple subjects.
Not taking the failure personally: Failures are because of circumstances and some limitations we have. Human being is not perfect. Failures reminds us that we are human being. I used to get disappointed and frustrated because I used to take the failures personally. My emotions were not in control. I always used to blame myself and my background but then I realised that problems is not always with me. People are also unfair and political. Sometimes situations and time is unfair. It is just not the right time. So instead of taking the failure personally, I started to reflect upon the reasons. This made me stronger day by day.
Self-Image: Failures are inevitable but during this process we need to learn but also take care of self. Keeping a positive self-image is very crucial after failures. I learnt not to blame others but also not to blame myself. We should learn from failures and mistakes and be optimistic about the future. This helps me to gain confidence. I started not to think much about the failure events, instead focusing on next.
Never give up: Most people fail before achieving success; the difference is that successful people never stop trying. I always used to tell my mind to keep going. I took inspiration from others, I always used to observe those poor people who were struggling even to maintain their livelihood. That gave me the positive feeling that at least I have something in hand.
Somebody rightly said, “Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles, the soul.”
Mediation, hobbies, and fun: Disappointments and failures never took my heart and mind from me. I used to visit temples regularly and sit there. I remember going to the ‘Lord Mahadeva’ temple which was located outside of the city. I used to sit there and meditate for hours. I read a lot of books, all types of books, books in Hindi, Marathi English. I listened to songs regularly. I spent time with my friends sharing stories and also helping them. I attended a lot of seminars and lectures on different subjects during and even after my college days. I also attended a lot of cultural and social activities. I also started writing columns for newspapers and magazines. Even during the odd times, I laughed loudly. I never allowed my smile to disappear. I started to mentor young children and college students on personality development. All this has a positive impact on me.
At present, I have all those things which I dreamed of. I have no fears and insecurities. But I went through the hottest fire in the past which made me stronger, curious and courageous.
Richard Nixon once said, “The finest steel has to go through the hottest fire”. I learnt resilience.
One piece of advice I always have is that “be like a sponge. Absorb good and bad, but learn from those.”