Friday, 1 August 2008


Earlier on this week, one of my colleagues at work failed two important insurance exams. He was absolutely devastated by the results. Although he said that he was going to apply for a revision of the exam papers, he was immediately filled with self-doubt. He spent most of the week saying that insurance is not for him. To me, this was another case of a person whose future choices in life are strongly moulded by failure.

What about you? Have you ever failed an exam? Have you ever been deserted by a boyfriend, girlfriend, friend? Have you ever been fired from one or more companies?

When faced with questions such as the aforementioned ones, I believe that most people have had to deal with a failure of some sort in their lives. Failure can be a very tough experience to deal with. Whereas some individuals are able to stand back up on their feet almost as quickly as Bobo dolls, there are also many people who react rather negatively when they fail to achieve certain goals.

I hate failure. Whenever it strikes, for one reason or another, I always feel quite bad. The experience always comes like a strong punch in the stomach. And the worst part of it is that it usually takes me fairly long to get back on track.

Given the devastating effect that failure has on my thinking, I am a great admirer of all those people who never give up when faced by one or more setbacks. Indeed, it is sometimes said that the most successful people in life are those that never throw in the towel when confronted with failure. Perhaps that is why I love reading biographies and watching movies based on true stories; several of them portray people who have managed to persevere in spite of coming across a number of setbacks in their lives.

I am still working on improving my reaction to failure. I want to be able to say to myself,"Well, I must have done something wrong this time, but I will keep on trying because I know that as long as I want to achieve a goal, I CAN be successful!" I want to become a truly persevering person and never give up after the smallest setback. :)


ninuhadida said...

another great post as usual!

I never had very very important exams that determine whether to keep on working at a particular place or to change fields, so, I can't genuinely talk here.

But about exams and other things that determine "qualifications" and "certificates", I was never too worried. Firstly I'm lucky that when I want to get a pass in some exam, I always got it since I was motivated to study (even if it's really really late), and when I didn't get a pass, it was because I wanted to, because I couldn't care less.

I was never too bothered with "material" failures, like exams and the like. Although I can't, again, genuinely talk here since I don't know how I'll feel if I get fired from some company. But the way I see it, it ain't a big deal. I can always try again, come back at it with more motivation or whatever it takes to do it. The world keeps on turning.

And I think, when someone looks at failure this way, he has a better chance of success when he tries again. It's that way, because if you keep on fearing of failure at the back of your mind, it will come back at you.

Although this looks all very heroic, I am utterly devastated with failure which regards relationships with friends/girlfriends/whatever. I try not to think about it, and to take it the same way I would with exams, it just keeps running at the back of my mind and there's no way of stopping it unless it's erased from my mind.

I guess I still have to conquer failure with regards to relationships, it seems a little bit harder then exam failures and other material things.. Because in relationships with people, when something gets nicked, it's very very hard to get it back to a straight line.

Keep up the post David! :)

Reuben Chircop said...

Today I believe that exams are a measure just like time to calculate how controllable I am. In addition I feel that failure is not something that occurs but something that I accept to happen. Not because of lack of knowledge but because of lack of stamina. As you said RED perseverance is the secret potion. It is not difficult when you are in difficulty, it starts to become difficult when one loses scope, the vision the internal Qi that holds every person alive. And that Qi is all about self actualization of oneself. Measurement to a standard rule to a ready made human ruler is the complete destruction to self actualization.

Red said...

Hi guys! Thanks a lot for your very interesting comments!

Although I believe that people may react to failure in different areas of life in various ways, a perfectionist like me will tend to react in the same way regardless of the type of failure we are talking about.

I am currently reading more about self-development because I think that the more we understand ourselves as human beings, the more opportunities we can unlock during this life.

If you know of any stories about people who faced huge setbacks in their lives, but still continued fighting to achieve their goals, I would be very glad to read them! :)