Africa In Focus

Africa In Focus: "The mainstream thinking now is that Africa is different and we could get it right if we want. The choice is fully ours, and it is now time for us to define what we want."

African Development Bank (AFDB) President, Dr. Donald Kaberuka.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

#Failure: Walking the line, Taking chances





 “When I was a young man, I observed that nine out of ten things I did were failures. I didn't want to be a failure, so I did ten times more work.”
-         George Bernard Shaw.

                                                                         

Former United States President, Abraham Lincoln, once  told this story to a delegation at the White house:


“Years ago, a young friend and I were out one night when a shower of meteors fell from the clear November sky. The young man was frightened, but I told him to look up in the sky past the shooting stars to the fixed stars beyond, shining serene in the firmament, and I said, “Let us not mind the meteors, but let us keep our eyes on the stars.”


Like the young man in Lincoln’s story, most of us, as it is in the nature of human being, are naturally “precautious”. We have the tendency to always toe the line when unexpected crisis/situation arises. This is because we are afraid to fail.

Most of us have been somewhat afraid to take a leap of faith in a particular cause of our live (either in business, career, personal relationship with others etc) because we are afraid of the inevitable.

While some have taken the plunge to dive into the “river” of situation around them – giving it their all, others have either dip a tip of their toe into the river or in another case, just sit at the edge of the river bank inorder not to get wet – for fear of the unknown.

Of course, we shield ourselves against the inevitable (or who will see a boiling water and then dip his/her hand into it without caution :-)) but one way or the other we find ourselves at one point in our cautious life walking the line of “possible failure.”

                                                                       
And when we find ourselves in this uncomfortable situation, we ask ourselves, “Can I rise above this situation (failure)?

Whether we like it or not; in life, there is got to be a silver lining in our big blue sky. This silver lining comes in form of obstacles that we tag as failure.

Failure comes in big or small stuffs. It can be as a result of not meeting up the cut-off mark for a school admission, carryover in examinations, a long-time/short-time relationship that ended up broken, failure to secure a contract or to meet up with the required standard of our friends, families and the society.

Sometimes, we measure our success and triumphs with that of our friends, colleague, spouse or celebrities/achievers we see or hear of. And if we are unable to measure up to these standards, we tag our self as failures in that regard. Well, that (comparing yourself with others) is a no-no because you are you and I am me. Always have it in mind that though your situation may be similar to that of your neighbor, your success story can never be the same.

As a youngster, I have experienced my share of failures (which I know doesn’t end so far I am living) but one thing that has kept me going is to bring out a LESSON from each situation. I must confess that I have not always readily embrace tough situations around me, but at least I try to look past that fear of failing. And whenever I encounter a sort of “failure”, I try to look back to see where I have missed it to bring out a lesson or two from such situations. 

This lesson(s) have in turn shape me one way or the other.

I am not alone in tasting the bitter-sweet pill of failure, others have tasted, swallowed and relish it. And I have envisaged is that those that have become successful one way or the other in this world, have been able to learn lesson(s) from their past failures/shortcomings – contributing to a large part of their success.

We admire those that have been able to rise above their failure but we are still wary of embracing it ourselves. But one thing has holds true and it has stand the test of time: “Failure can in turn bring insurmountable and untold blessing.”

                                                                
Therefore, since we cannot prevent failure from happening, we might as well embrace it and learn from them to be a better person than we were yesterday.

The only way to walk the line of failure is to convert it (failure) into success is by learning from them.

South Africa ex-President, Nelson Mandela, once said, “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

Go ahead and grow through your failure. Somehow, somewhere; the strength will come for you to push forward.

When you embrace your failure; you exhibit the attitude of moving on, stepping up (rising above it) and then learning from the cause of the failure. If you are not able to learn from the cause of your failure, it will be like the proverbial dog that goes back to its vomit. In other word, you keep repeating the same mistake and the failure syndrome continues.

So, make the best of bad situations. Don’t bother wasting time grieving on past failures for the long haul, instead, LEARN and MOVE ON to achieve success from the disappointment you have experienced.

Jim Stovall in his book “The Ultimate gift” says: “If we are not allowed to deal with small problems (failure), we will be destroyed by slightly larger ones. When we come to understand this fact, we live our lives not avoiding problems, but welcoming them as challenges that will strengthen us so that we can be victorious in the future.”

When failures come your way, it strengthens you to stay balanced under pressure. It also gives you the criteria you need most to work it out –patience.

Remember, failure are what you see when you take your eyes off the goal.

Failure is part of life, embrace it.

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