This stereotype of attributing one failure or loss to a person as being a failure I think began from kindergarten. Where our African parents expected us to always take the first position, always topping the class. And this, on the surface level looked like an encouragement, a great motivation for a child, until the child slips and takes the second position or the third.
Some parents will attribute that to failing. You will hear the comparison, charge and obligation given to the child to strive to get back his first position and maintain it. Some of these parents do not even take a look at the grades earned on each subject; immediately they get the report card and see what was not desired, they give their final verdict and off they go; leaving the little child to drown in his “supposed failure”.
Children depend on their parents for everything and they tend to hold dear the compliments or rebuke thrown at them. They are not yet capable of sorting out information and discarding the ones not important or toxic at this stage, so they take it as they come. Whatever they learnt from childhood forms a belief system, until they either unlearn it sometime later or never at all.
And so this child who has been ingrained with the ideology that he must always be at the top and anything short of that commensurates to failure grows into a man with the same mind-set. He goes into the big wild world of business. He makes progress and keeps climbing the ladder of success. He is a guru in his niche, a business colossal. But something happens, the economy begins to crumble and he begins to make less than expected. The turnover has reduced, his company took third place this year after the annual business summit.
Then he begins to panic, he foresees doom; just like when he was a child. He begins to wonder how people would label him a failure. This gnaws at him, sometimes it gets so bad it cripples him and soon he is out of business because he could not handle the failure. The flip side of this mind-set is, he sees others as competition and would wipe out anyone just to maintain the status quo. His mind has been set on being at the top; he does not know how to maneuver his way around it, he does not know the right way of handling failure.
Now, this is not just a typical story that we hear in the house, this is reality. There are people who cannot handle failure. No matter how minute it is, they have been built to stay at the top. They believe that any loss on their side intermittently mean they have failed. Which begs the question, does one loss mean failure? Do we say we are failures all because we have failed? Absolutely not.
The path to success teaches that failure is part of the journey. You are not just going to have a smooth highway to your destination. This is because there is so much to learn as we aim to achieve one thing or the other. Or have you not noticed, that when you try something the first time and it does not work out, you learn to do that thing another way, most importantly you learn the way not to take. Here are the reasons why failing at one thing doesn’t make us loosers or failures;
1. First we learn confidence; if after trying out a thing over and over again and you do not succeed, eventually when you do you are very confident to showcase what you have done. You have zero doubts on how to carry out that thing. It was the same case with Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln and a host of other achievers who failed over and over again in a bid to achieve one feat.
2. Second, we are able to let go of fear; taking a step to achieving something Is faith in itself. The fact that you did something, you conquered the fear of whether it will succeed or not. This in itself is winning, because not many people can try out something new. A whole lot of persons are crippled by fear. So whether what you set out to do worked out or not, you achieved something; which is letting go of fear.
3. Third, Patience; a lot of persons do not know how important a role patience play in carrying out a duty. Not many people are patient enough to do something. So, if you are able to sit down and carry out a task from beginning to finishing, then you have achieved a feat.
Others include; learning the art of discipline, perseverance and most importantly growth. This is what learning and doing makes in a man. It helps the man to grow, to become a better version of himself. So, whatever stereotypes you have built over the years about failures, let it go. If you are taking a step towards fulfilling your purpose and you experience failure, before you conclude you are a failure, take a step back and ask yourself; what have I accomplished in a bid to undertake this course? In what way have I won? When you do this, you will see how much of a success that you are.
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