The benefits of failure
Thomas Edison: In his early years, teachers told Edison that he was “too stupid to learn anything.” Work was no better, as he was fired from his first...
Behind every success story, there are stories of setbacks or radical changes of direction. Take a few examples of those who failed at their first attempt and went onto become the most successful people in their field:
Thomas Edison: In his early years, teachers told Edison that he was “too stupid to learn anything.” Work was no better, as he was fired from his first two jobs for not being productive enough. Even as an inventor, Edison made a thousand unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. Of course, all those unsuccessful attempts finally resulted in the design that finally came to be.
Henry Ford:While Ford is today known for his innovative assembly line and American-made cars, he wasn’t an instant success. In fact, his early businesses failed and left him broke before he founded the successful Ford Motor company.
Ratan Tata:At the very start of his career as a chairman, two companies under him faced bankruptcy and his employees’ faith in him dwindled as he brought down the retirement age from 70 to 65, leading to the ouster of some of the oldest employees of the organisation. Despite the many failures he had seen, Tata Nano being the latest, Ratan Tata has not given up and even today continues to be a global figure.
Steve Jobs:Like Microsoft’s co-founder Bill Gates and Facebook’s Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, Jobs never graduated from college and was fired by his own company and was even unsuccessful in the NeXT Computer business.
If any of these people had feared failure and kept themselves from trying again, they couldn't have succeeded in their professional life. Many of us have probably experienced this at one time or another in some way or the other. The fear of failing can be immobilising – it can cause us to do nothing, and therefore keep us from moving forward. But when we allow fear to stop our progress in life, we're likely to miss some great opportunities along the way.
Instead, if we try to face them just like all successful people did, we can learn from those failures/mistakes and progress further. Most of us will stumble and fall in life. Doors will get slammed on our faces and we might make some bad decisions. But think of the opportunities we would miss if we let our failures stop us.
It's important to realise that in everything we do, there's always a chance that we may face failures. Taking that situation head on not only makes us courageous but also gives us joy and a rewarding high. Let me describe some types of failures the present generation is bound to face at the beginning of their career and how one can overcome them:
- You do not get any reply from a company regarding your job application: This is because many apply for a job without going through the job specifications. They end up applying for irrelevant jobs. The best way is to get a clear picture of the requirement and conduct a little research about that company too. Not only freshers, even experienced folks make the same mistake. They just walk into an interview without putting in any effort or read up on what the company does.
- Your CV is thrown into dustbin: It's possible that you’ve written too much in your CVs without specifying what job you're applying for. It is better to always send your CV (not more than two pages) along with a covering letter. Do not use the same CV for all job postings; prepare one based on the requirement and identify the match.
- Your resume does not reflect your skill set: It's easy to write whatever you want, but you should be in a position to justify it.
- Your resume speaks: Never assume that your resume will bring you a job; it's your way of presenting and demonstrating the skill you have that matters.
- The recruiter is not impressed with your talk: It's always advisable to talk about what and how can you contribute to the job defined. Employers are least bothered about the stuff that is irrelevant to the vacancy they have.
- Sometimes social media may ruin your career: Better keep your personal and professional lives separate. Know your audience before you share any content.
- Experiment through internships: Instead of doing a project just for the sake of academic purpose, do it in a realistic environment. So that you can explore, experiment and identify what suits you perfectly.
- Failures at interviews: Avoid going late, wear formals, go prepared, do not talk excessively, listen carefully and do not interrupt the interviewer. Lastly, do not forget to follow up with the interviewer
- Passing the days just like that: You must focus on upgrading yourself in line with industry dynamics and expectations.
- Learn and then earn: Focus more on earning knowledge and skill. This will make it easy to earn money, status, etc.
- Don’t use the same approach always: It may not bring you desired results. Better try a new point of view. Michael Jordan said it best: “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions, I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
I am not saying failure should be your goal; but my point is: don’t worry about failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try. Good luck.