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How failing publicly early in my life shaped me

Failure is the Best Teacher one can have

My entire family was standing there shocked while my father scolded me for not paying attention to my studies.

I had failed. First time. Big time.

Never ever it had happened in my life till then. Gosh, I failed!!

Not in one subject, not in two but in three out of five.

I stood at the corner of the living room adjacent to the door, ready to run in case my father tries to put his hands on me in anger. I was always scared of him.

My mother was trying to balance her loyalty for her husband and her love for her son by consoling him and asking me to study more for the upcoming final exams in two months.

Any other time the impact of those results would have been halved but this was not any other year. This was the final year of school, the 12th.

I couldn’t afford to be not interested in studies.

I stood there silently taking in all the hot stuff coming towards me while I see my younger ones sitting in another corner of the room, trying to hide their smile.

I was hurt.

I had never failed myself that way, at least in studies, never. I knew I hadn’t put in the work required so the results were obvious.

I took in whatever came my way that day and sat that night to decide my schedule for next two months until the final exams.

I cut off from any social gathering or friends, I cut off from any entertainment, I cut off from everything which distracted me.

All I did was go to school, help in house hold chores and study, study and study.

Result was way more than me or my people had expected. I stood first in my entire school. Whoa!!

That was some punch.

Everyone was happy around me. I was too. But my reasons were different. 

All of them were happy for the results I had got. I was happy for the changes I saw in me after those two months.

I never thought that a failure could be a blessing also but it was and it gave me such important lessons at that tender age which all the successes in my life till then couldn’t teach me.

I have gone to many places since then, failed many times, succeeded a few as well but these lessons what the biggest failure of my life till then taught me have stood the test of time:

  1. Nothing beats following the process:

Many people asked me the magic trick I applied for those last two months to cover the course of an entire year and my simple answer was that I just followed the process.

I studied whatever was to be studied.

I didn’t look for shortcuts to complete the course with minimum efforts.I read all the five subjects from first page till last page, word by word, with same focus.

That is what our teachers teach us, that is what I had done all my life and that is what I did in those two months again. Only difference was that I was a little more focused because of the insult I had to face in the school and in my family.

  • I learnt more about myself:

How?

Well, till that failure happened, I thought I am more intelligent than others. More talented. That’s what people in my school told me, that’s what my family &friends told me.

And the worst part was, I believed what they said. So I thought to myself, dude, what is the need to study, you can pass without study also.

So I went to the half yearly exams without studying, and first paper itself was a slap on my face. But I took it lightly so I kept on getting those slaps silently during the exam and then publicly after the results.

But when I put in the work required, I learned that any skill or talent can’t work until the person having the skills work.

Everyone is talented, everyone is having some skill. Almighty never send anyone empty handed. It’s what we do with that skill, that matters.

  • Respect has to be earned:

I stood there listening to what my parents had to say to me, I saw how my siblings looked at me and then I went to my room and looked at myself and I found the same expression which was there in other’s eyes.

Until then I could never differentiate between love and respect but that day, I saw what it was.

I loved myself even after that failure and so did my family. But I had lost respect in everybody’s eyes and I had to get that back by my actions. 

I have never ever taken that thing for granted since. I know my family, my friend and me will always love me but it’s a very thin line before I lose their respect and I must never cross that.

When it happened, it was one of the worst days of my life then but now when I look back, I see it as one of the best days of my life and so have been my other failures over the years.

For me a failure has always been about course correction and a much better teacher than all the success combined.

If you have also gone through any failure or going through a one, just take it as another course correction towards the ultimate destination you are supposed to go.

As told by Ellen DeGeneres- “Its failure that gives you the proper perspective on success.”

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