‘Handling Failure’

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20th March 2024

We grow up hearing, ‘Beta, work hard, Keep studying, be focused.’ If we do these things, we are told, we will get into a good school, and then a good college, and thereafter a good job is assured.

But what if we follow the script and work hard and, despite giving it our very best shot, fail?

Which syllabus has the formula to deal with that? To whom do we turn to understand what has happened, and what do we do to cope?

Handling failure is an important lesson to master, because even the hard work variable only goes so far.

As we grow up, success evolves into a complex multi-variable equation. How we communicate, the confidence we project, our ability to network, how we fare in critical moments relative to others – all of this begins to play a part in the outcome and most of us end up struggling.

In India, where lakhs of people apply for everything, from the civil services examinations to a shot at Indian Idol, it is a question of when we will experience failure, not if we will.

At some point, each of us will face rejection of some kind. That is a guarantee.

Life is like a boxing match, like the boxer in a ring, you have to get used to being hit because that is the only way you will win.

Even the great Amitabh Bachchan, after graduating from college, was struggling to find a job, applied to All India Radio (AIR), hoping to land an opportunity as a newsreader or commentator.

The man and his now legendary baritone voice were rejected, for both English and Hindi broadcasts.

He went on to deliver 12 flop movies before Zanjeer became a blockbuster.

Rejection is like that big ‘down day’ in equity investing, an inevitable part of a game of taking risks. When you face rejection of any kind, ask yourself how much the incident – which feels like the end of the world here and now – will matter in five years.

If you think about it, most likely, it will not matter that much.

The best strategy to deal with various rejections or failures is to Zoom out, what feels like a big blot today will be a small dot tomorrow.

Your drive for attainment should be more powerful than your fear of failure. I believe success comes the moment you learn to live outside of your comfort zone.

It is OK to be rejected or to fail. When you experience failure, stay calm, analyze the cause, devise a plan of action, keep going & stay blessed forever.