Friday, January 31, 2014

It’s OKAY to fail…


It’s OKAY to fail…

I have loved and I have lost.

I have been naïve and I have been wise.

I have been weak and I have been strong.

I have single-handedly led huge business teams on professional front. And on some other days, I needed extensive medication and external assistance to recover from severe depression (which I couldn’t handle by myself).

I have comforted friends recovering from heartbreak, rushed people to hospital post fatal road accidents (while no passerby came for help) and treated many dying stray animals back to health during my part-time volunteer work. And on other days I gave up on my OWN life and tried to end it many many times.

I had series of successes as well as series of epic failures.

And I say … It’s OKAY to fail…

The failures which I talk here are NOT flaws or personality traits. These are something I tried to work upon but failed; failed relationships, professions, etc.

Failures can be categorized into two types – 1) failures caused due to self, like – our decision, our choices, etc. and 2) failures caused due to external people or circumstances. We can work on the first category of failures and control it but the second one is way out of any risk mitigation plan for project, “life”.

The failures I talk here are mainly the failures of second category, induced from outside.

After the series of personal failures and post my healing and the evolution process, I found that my circle of friends and acquaintances had dramatically changed. Eventually people who were just attached to my successes or external achievements left, and people who loved me irrespective of my pass/fail status, remained. Those who remained were the people who truly loved me because of my core and not my external labels – my qualifications, my acquisitions and my bank status. (My core - love, kindness, honesty, enthusiasm and optimism)

My failures brought in undesired external criticism and judgment from many. Everyone was eager to see my medals but hardly anyone saw the strength behind my scars (except my very close friends, especially "Jassi"). Experts advised me to cover up my failures, adorn a fancy mask and pretend "un-failed". What a claustrophobic experience it was for a person like me who always advocated “honesty”.

I HAD an experience. HOW can I deny it? So HOW can I disown my experience of failures? I am not advocating FAILURE, neither am I saying that FAILURE is fun and better than SUCCESS. No. All I am saying that it’s OKAY to FAIL as J.K. Rowling said during her commencement speech at Harvard “… some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”

Failing is NOT a CRIME.

Harming others is a crime. Cheating is a crime. Killing is a crime. Robbing is a crime. It amazes me that the criminals are at large today and the innocent (failures) are hiding in fear.

People, who look down on others due to their failure(s), need to know SO much more about life and humanity.

During my recovery days, I had the opportunity to watch videos and hear podcasts of many successful people around the global who shared their personal stories of love, loss and win. I felt it was very brave of them to share their stories (especially failures) with absolute STRANGERS. What I understand from it is that -

  • When people share their stories of failures, the listeners identify with the stories. “OH! Ya! I have been there!!” People feel they are NOT ALONE in failure; there are so so many who have failed at something.
  • When successful people share their stories of failures; their journey of failure to success, has a profound inspirational impact.
  • Sharing personal stories is an act of honesty and self acceptance

What inspires me the most are, the achievements stories of people who were once called the “underdogs”; stories of people who made their path to success, through immense hardships and heartaches. Like J.K. Rowling who was once jobless, poor and single parent in Britain and later went on to weave beautiful tapestry of imagination and words and created the classic “Harry Potter” novels.

EVERY innovation had to undergo series of failures before eventually succeeding. There is hardly ANYONE who didn't experience heartbreak; there is hardly ANYONE who did not have professional failures; there is hardly ANY player who has not lost a game. Yet, yet talking about failure is a taboo. People keep denying it. It has been said and proved more than a thousand times that carving our way ahead through failure makes us stronger. Yet we keep denying “failure” which propels us to the path of healing and success.

FAILURES helped me to evolve into a more - wise, loving, non-judgmental, compassionate and stronger person.

J.K Rowling in her commencement speech at Harvard, 2008 talked about the fringe benefits of failure -

“Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above the price of rubies.

The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I ever earned.”

I own my story COMPLETELY along with all the highs and lows, successes and failures. EVERY experience taught me something about life, something about my OWN self, and made me the person who I am today and will be in future. The more experiences I had, the more lessons I learned and the more I could share my stories and learning with others who were experiencing similar situations.

There is life inside me. Life that enables me - to talk, to see the wonders of the universe which I am a part of, to smile, to laugh, to cry, to sing, to dance, to work, to play, to hug, to love, to nurture, to share ….to experience. I don’t disown my experiences. I do not run away from my failures anymore. I accept my failures. Acceptance of the failures and talking openly about it has been such a liberating experience. I do not have to hide anything because I am not ashamed of my failures anymore. I wasn't born to be perfect with only successful moments. I was born to experience. I was born to love and learn. I honor the life buzzing inside me, with all the successes and failures.

“Don’t ever be ashamed of the scars life has left you with.  A scar means the hurt is over and the wound is closed.  It means you conquered the pain, learned a lesson, grew stronger, and moved forward.  A scar is the tattoo of a triumph to be proud of.” Marc and Angel

I am not here on this planet to compete with the other 7 billion people. I am NOT here to be LIKE somebody else. I am here to be MYSELF. I am UNIQUE and so are YOU. I do not know if I have lived before or if I’ll be reborn again. All I know that I am ALIVE today – in body, mind and soul. Many people inspire me but I don’t want to be like them. I do not want to be anybody else but myself. I do not want to run away from my life and live somebody’s life. I want to wholly experience the life inside ME.

I want to wholly own and live MY life to the best of MY ability. And in this adventurous journey of life it’s OKAY to get lost … It’s OKAY to fail…

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