It may not be the desired result you want and it may not be the result you hoped for, but let me tell you, it doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t change who you are as a person or a human being, and it doesn’t change what you’re trying to do with your life. And please don’t even think the society is going to give you a tag for it.
Think of a baby learning to walk. Should we see it as a “bad” or “shameful” thing every time he or she falls? Do babies beat themselves up when they lose balance after taking a few steps? Of course not. Falling and losing balance is precisely how they learn to successfully walk.
The same goes for us and whatever it is we choose to create with our lives. You don’t beat yourself up over a fall. You cry, dust yourself and try again. We can’t expect ourselves to be perfect and flawless when we are new to something (or even if we aren’t new to it, for that matter). But taking steps regardless is the perfect way to gauge what works and what doesn’t work.
Think of a panda that you’ve seen, when he loses his shit and tumbles and falls and still manages to be the most adorable thing. Still so adorable, still so happy, still sucking on its bamboo with no care for what the world thinks. You dear reader, have to be this panda!
At our age (I am 22) , it is easy to have a knack for passing examinations, and that, for years, has been the measure of success in our life and that of our peers. But you do realise it doesn’t always add up right?
Try Ishaan Avasthi from Taare Zameen Par, or Walt Disney in real life. Life is so so much more than cramming 6 months worth of studies and an oceans worth of curriculum in a 3 hour paper and in the end, somebody who knows nothing about you, telling and deciding your worth.
I am not dull enough to suppose that because you are young, gifted and well-educated, you have never known hardship or heartbreak. Talent and intelligence have never indemnified anyone against the pages of Fate, and I do not for a moment suppose that you have enjoyed an existence of unruffled privilege and contentment.
Ultimately, you have to decide for yourself what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria if you let it. So I think it fair to say that by any conventional measure, a mere paper in almost 22 years of your existence doesn’t define how you have failed on an epic scale.
Now, I am not going to sit here and write and tell you that failure is fun. That period of my life was a dark one (when I failed to be honest to my people; or when I did not clear my exams until multiple attempts later), and I had no idea that there was going to be the kind of life and people that I have today, which includes some really special people. I had no idea then how far the tunnel extended, and for a long time, any light at the end of it was a hope rather than a reality.
So why am I telling you what I am telling you? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination that I have today, to do what I really want to do. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realised, and I am still alive, and I have a family who loves me, and I have my hands, feet and brain completely intact, and the determination to be a better version of me from yesterday. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.
Michael Jordan once said “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying”.
Or Winston Churchill, a politician, writer, army officer and 2 time Prime Minister of UK once said, “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm”.
I am sure you are aware of the stories of Amitabh Bachchan (from declaring bankruptcy to being the man), SRK(from sleeping on the streets of Delhi to the king of Bollywood), Dhirubhai Ambani(From selling Bhajiyas to Finding RIL), Narendra Modi(From selling Tea to becoming our PM), Rajnikanth (Was a bus conductor), APJ Apdul Kalam (sold newspapers to support his family) and I can come up with 1000 more examples within India and outside.
And these people are looked upto, and made an example of only because of their failure and struggles. Not because they got to the top without stumbling. That is simply a fairytale and almost impossible.
You really think their failures or results ever limit their dreams or capabilities? And I am sure you realise the fact that they’ve had their fair share of failures. And if you tell me they were great people or extraordinary people, let me tell you, thats not the case at all. They have nothing that you don’t. In fact, they never possessed the comfort, brains and opportunities you do.
I once read “If you pray for rains, you gotta learn to deal with the mud”. And this is all that it is. A patch of mud, that you got to deal with before there’s another rain and all the mud is washed away.
I’m going to say it again. A piece of paper is never going to decide your fate or your career. Not now, not ever. You decide that for yourself. Nobody else. Only you’re the the creator of your destiny and greatness, and only you’re the Krypton (the element behind superman’s weakness) to your fate.
And as far as me or anyone else in your life is concerned, you’re still the same person and you always will be. This doesn’t make anyone think any less of you, and it never ever will. And there’s always someone out there, just waiting to see how you pick yourself up and launch yourself again, to achieve what you want to achieve and what you can achieve.
To conclude I’ll say this:
“You were trying to fly, and let the winds deter you and fell on the ground on your knees. All you’ve got to do is dust yourself off, chug some beer and shrug it off and start fluttering your wings and fly again.”
I wish nothing but the best to everyone who’s failed and who’s reading this. This isn’t the end; Its just the beginning.
Best wishes and regards,
Ps. You’re awesome!