The opportunity called failure

The opportunity called failure

There is a thin line between success and failure. The present generation feels that success is a destination, but fails to understand that it is in...

There is a thin line between success and failure. The present generation feels that success is a destination, but fails to understand that it is in fact a journey. One of the milestones in a student’s career is the Intermediate exams and the Board of Intermediate Education has just released the results of the examinations. While some have won the number game and are ecstatic about the outcome, others are on a downward spiral of dejection.

Sahiti, a BiPC student, missed the first rank by five marks after having secured 985 in her exams. Although not dejected, she feels the pinch of having missed the top spot by a whisker. While Sindhu, a second year BiPC student has taken 803 marks in her stride, her friend Akhil feels disillusioned with his score of 969 marks. They are still among the few who have fared reasonably well. There are unfortunately many more candidates who have not secured the minimum pass marks and are probably re-thinking their career choices.

While the education system has clarified the definition of success with cut-offs and ranks, failure on the other hand is largely decided by students themselves, who set their own benchmarks. Some often seal their fates by giving up after a debacle or a hiccup in a long life that has so much in store for those with a steely resolve and a never-say-die attitude. Often when failure forces you down on your knees, it would do well to look at the illustrious lives of some famous people who stood their ground in the face of the most painful fiascos.

One of the most inspiring stories is that of Nobel laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan. The man, who has proudly reserved a place for himself in history for his work on the structure and function of the ribosome, once failed to secure a single seat in any of the Indian Institutes of Technology or the Christian Medical College in Vellore. It was only his grit and determination that led him to win the honour.

Another illustrious personality, who catapulted himself to success from rock bottom was Svyatoslav Fyodorov, widely known as the father of refractive surgery. Imagine the consternation of a young Fyodorov, whose dream of being a pilot was cruelly cut short by a plane crash that took his leg. One could also talk about Bill Gates, a college dropout, who today has toppers from the world’s most prestigious institutions vying to work for him.

While failure all by itself is painful to endure, a fiasco in full public view can carve a huge dent in anybody’s self-confidence, or so we are inclined to believe. The media was only eager to write off cricketers like Saurav Ganguly, M S Dhoni and lately even badminton champion Saina Nehwal, everytime they stumbled. Today, Saina Nehwal has distinction of being the first Indian woman to attain World No.1 ranking in badminton.

There is no dearth of such inspiring tales. There are several people who’d taken the fireball of failure to their chests only to become indomitable and make a grand re-emergence. Failure is never final, unless of course one stops trying. It is difficult to look at a debacle as anything but the nadir of life, where all hope is lost. But the road does not end for those who dare to look beyond.

A negative attitude corrodes even the most brilliant minds. Nothing is impossible, provided the right amount of grit, determination and positive attitude are thrown in. A lot of us mistake introspection with plain sulking. Success teaches us little but failure provides us the space to stretch our limbs and identify our weaknesses. What one needs to do is conduct a thorough SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis without getting disillusioned. Lastly, there are only two kinds of people: ones who cower in the face of failure, never to be seen again; and the mighty others who stand the test of time and hurdles to emerge victorious. History has place only for the latter.

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