A to Z Challenge Life lessons

F is for Failure #atozchallenge

failure

I have feared failure for a long time. Blame it on the upbringing that pretty much implies you have to succeed at everything you try. I remember failing my very first exam. A Geography test in Year 7. I got a quarter out of 8. Yes, a quarter of a mark. It got better. In the term exam, I got 7 out of 30. I failed twice in the span of a few months.

Much to the anger of my mother.

You see, for Indian families, failing is not an option.

But funnily enough, that failure brought about a change. My mum continued to nag encourage me to study harder and sat with me day in and day out trying to revise material with me. Until I finally snapped. And was assertive enough to tell her that she needed to back off. And I could study on my own. She grudgingly gave in. And I passed my next test. With a 7 out of 8!

Failure scared the crap out of me. But it motivated me to work harder.

As an adult here, I got fired from a part-time job when I was a student. It was at a take-away store and apparently, I wasn’t fast enough. I cried. I had failed. But it wasn’t the end of the world, To be honest, the pay was crap and the owner pretty shitty.

And I think that’s what people don’t understand.

When you fail at something, it’s not the end of the world. It is an opportunity. An opportunity to learn. To grow. To do something different. Failure just teaches you that there is another way to solve a problem. If anything, it makes you more resilient. And pushes you further towards your goals. Failure is a pit-stop en route to success.

Once we get rid of that fear of failing, we do become more accepting of failure and open to learning. To get there though is hard. And sometimes, I think we need to make ourselves fail deliberately. To just show ourselves that the world doesn’t end.

That life goes on.

Are you afraid of failing?

Do share!!

***This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge and the Ultimate Blog Challenge. You can find my previous posts here***

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

 

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  • Nibha
    7 April 2014 at 6:41 am

    Bingo PB!! I also something about fears and failures!!
    But Wise Advice PB! Failures are indeed the stepping stones of the success! And fear of failures is the worst mistake anyone can make in life..
    Nibha recently posted…Fear Of FailureMy Profile

    • carol graham
      7 April 2014 at 7:23 am

      It is so sad that failure is not an option — I can’t imagine that kind of pressure. Also, we learn so much from failure and we grow from it as well.
      carol graham recently posted…Dogs – H is for Hiding Behind the TreeMy Profile

  • Nibha
    7 April 2014 at 6:41 am

    Bingo PB!! I also something about fears and failures!!
    But Wise Advice PB! Failures are indeed the stepping stones of the success! And fear of failures is the worst mistake anyone can make in life..
    Nibha recently posted…Fear Of FailureMy Profile

    • carol graham
      7 April 2014 at 7:23 am

      It is so sad that failure is not an option — I can’t imagine that kind of pressure. Also, we learn so much from failure and we grow from it as well.
      carol graham recently posted…Dogs – H is for Hiding Behind the TreeMy Profile

  • Pinky Poinker
    7 April 2014 at 7:36 am

    When I was in grade 10 (many moons ago) I got 7 out of 100 in my maths exam. I came twentieth in a class of thirty kids so I think the teacher had a lot to answer for. My mother hit the roof so I don’t think it’s just an Indian thing πŸ™‚ I dropped maths in Grade 11 and 12 because I could see it was NOT my thing. None of my kids are particularly good at Maths and I only read yesterday that a fear of maths is genetic. Lucky I have a small ability in literacy. Lovely thoughtful post as usual!
    Pinky Poinker recently posted…F- is for Favourite. Do you have a favourite kid?My Profile

  • Pinky Poinker
    7 April 2014 at 7:36 am

    When I was in grade 10 (many moons ago) I got 7 out of 100 in my maths exam. I came twentieth in a class of thirty kids so I think the teacher had a lot to answer for. My mother hit the roof so I don’t think it’s just an Indian thing πŸ™‚ I dropped maths in Grade 11 and 12 because I could see it was NOT my thing. None of my kids are particularly good at Maths and I only read yesterday that a fear of maths is genetic. Lucky I have a small ability in literacy. Lovely thoughtful post as usual!
    Pinky Poinker recently posted…F- is for Favourite. Do you have a favourite kid?My Profile

  • Patricia
    7 April 2014 at 11:25 am

    I am not fond of failure but i do see it as a step toward success. At least I know what not to do next time.
    Patricia recently posted…E is for escalators and elevators…My Profile

  • Patricia
    7 April 2014 at 11:25 am

    I am not fond of failure but i do see it as a step toward success. At least I know what not to do next time.
    Patricia recently posted…E is for escalators and elevators…My Profile

  • Shail
    7 April 2014 at 1:01 pm

    You hit the nail with, “for Indian families, failing is not an option”
    According to the Indian Family Standards, I was deemed a failure since i wasn’t FIRST IN CLASS πŸ˜›
    It took decades for me to learn otherwise πŸ˜‰
    Shail recently posted…Forget it!My Profile

  • Shail
    7 April 2014 at 1:01 pm

    You hit the nail with, “for Indian families, failing is not an option”
    According to the Indian Family Standards, I was deemed a failure since i wasn’t FIRST IN CLASS πŸ˜›
    It took decades for me to learn otherwise πŸ˜‰
    Shail recently posted…Forget it!My Profile

  • Ananya
    7 April 2014 at 1:36 pm

    Indian families failing is not a option so true !
    We always fear failure, at every stage, in one way or other but that should not stop us from trying πŸ™‚ easy to say but hard to implement πŸ˜‰

  • Ananya
    7 April 2014 at 1:36 pm

    Indian families failing is not a option so true !
    We always fear failure, at every stage, in one way or other but that should not stop us from trying πŸ™‚ easy to say but hard to implement πŸ˜‰

  • Eli
    7 April 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Great read on this Monday morning! For me, handling failure is getting easier as I grow older (and soooo much wiser:-)) I remember at school when I if failing an exam or getting a negative feedback – was ready to throw myself off the cliffs. Very drama queen. Now, I just shrug my shoulders and move on…. You learn, you leave it behind and go on – so true! Life is too short….:) I loved the flow in your piece today – very enjoyable read:-)
    Eli recently posted…F for Faroe IslandsMy Profile

  • Eli
    7 April 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Great read on this Monday morning! For me, handling failure is getting easier as I grow older (and soooo much wiser:-)) I remember at school when I if failing an exam or getting a negative feedback – was ready to throw myself off the cliffs. Very drama queen. Now, I just shrug my shoulders and move on…. You learn, you leave it behind and go on – so true! Life is too short….:) I loved the flow in your piece today – very enjoyable read:-)
    Eli recently posted…F for Faroe IslandsMy Profile

  • Gauri
    7 April 2014 at 2:22 pm

    PS you hit the bullseye! Failing is not an option for Indian families. I was a huge failure in my mother’s eyes for a long time because I failed to pursue the education she gave me. She wanted me to be a dentist, and I gave it up. Ergo, failure and betrayer both. It took me a long time to convince her that I was meant to do other things, and one of them was being a creative baker. I have earned myself a niche with this business now πŸ™‚
    Gauri recently posted…F – DIY Frame with Old Magazine PagesMy Profile

  • Gauri
    7 April 2014 at 2:22 pm

    PS you hit the bullseye! Failing is not an option for Indian families. I was a huge failure in my mother’s eyes for a long time because I failed to pursue the education she gave me. She wanted me to be a dentist, and I gave it up. Ergo, failure and betrayer both. It took me a long time to convince her that I was meant to do other things, and one of them was being a creative baker. I have earned myself a niche with this business now πŸ™‚
    Gauri recently posted…F – DIY Frame with Old Magazine PagesMy Profile

  • RED HANDED
    7 April 2014 at 3:49 pm

    For some reason, I have always attributed success to my happiness with what I do. So failure never killed me.
    Like you said, it is an opportunity!
    RED HANDED recently posted…Of Childhood Crushes and Fantasies…..My Profile

  • RED HANDED
    7 April 2014 at 3:49 pm

    For some reason, I have always attributed success to my happiness with what I do. So failure never killed me.
    Like you said, it is an opportunity!
    RED HANDED recently posted…Of Childhood Crushes and Fantasies…..My Profile

  • Jayanta Tewari
    7 April 2014 at 4:06 pm

    Very aptly said. I do believe there is great deal of learning through failure s as well. This is true for our children and our wings of protection to prevent them from failure is not always the right thing. A thoughtful post.
    Jayanta Tewari recently posted…Freedom of Mind- Fight WithinMy Profile

  • Jayanta Tewari
    7 April 2014 at 4:06 pm

    Very aptly said. I do believe there is great deal of learning through failure s as well. This is true for our children and our wings of protection to prevent them from failure is not always the right thing. A thoughtful post.
    Jayanta Tewari recently posted…Freedom of Mind- Fight WithinMy Profile

  • Prasanna Rao
    7 April 2014 at 4:30 pm

    I think the fear of failure can sometimes work in both ways. Some people are motivated because they fear to fail. But I feel every ever step taken backwards is just a preparation to lead bounds ahead πŸ™‚

  • Prasanna Rao
    7 April 2014 at 4:30 pm

    I think the fear of failure can sometimes work in both ways. Some people are motivated because they fear to fail. But I feel every ever step taken backwards is just a preparation to lead bounds ahead πŸ™‚

  • Sreeja Praveen
    7 April 2014 at 4:30 pm

    Very true, PB, every word of it !! But sadly most of us see failure as the end of it all. Not an option, or opportunity, or anything. Just the end. I guess real failure begins there !
    Sreeja Praveen recently posted…A to Z Random Post # 6 : F – the Friend….My Profile

  • Sreeja Praveen
    7 April 2014 at 4:30 pm

    Very true, PB, every word of it !! But sadly most of us see failure as the end of it all. Not an option, or opportunity, or anything. Just the end. I guess real failure begins there !
    Sreeja Praveen recently posted…A to Z Random Post # 6 : F – the Friend….My Profile

  • swathi shenoy
    7 April 2014 at 4:41 pm

    Bingo!! Even I have written something similar πŸ˜€ loved this post πŸ™‚ True fear is not the end of the world and the realization is what encourages us to pursue πŸ™‚
    swathi shenoy recently posted…F for Fear!!My Profile

  • swathi shenoy
    7 April 2014 at 4:41 pm

    Bingo!! Even I have written something similar πŸ˜€ loved this post πŸ™‚ True fear is not the end of the world and the realization is what encourages us to pursue πŸ™‚
    swathi shenoy recently posted…F for Fear!!My Profile

  • Beloo Mehra
    7 April 2014 at 5:30 pm

    Yes, many Indian parents put a lot of pressure on their children to do well in exams. As much as I am against that, I also empathize with the reason why they do so…they too are caught up in this vicious cycle that only values success of a certain kind.
    A good post, PB. Like the reflective tone of it.
    Beloo Mehra recently posted…F is for First…as in First Principle of True TeachingMy Profile

  • Beloo Mehra
    7 April 2014 at 5:30 pm

    Yes, many Indian parents put a lot of pressure on their children to do well in exams. As much as I am against that, I also empathize with the reason why they do so…they too are caught up in this vicious cycle that only values success of a certain kind.
    A good post, PB. Like the reflective tone of it.
    Beloo Mehra recently posted…F is for First…as in First Principle of True TeachingMy Profile

  • sugandha
    7 April 2014 at 5:47 pm

    My parents always taught us to accept failure…also they were probably too practical, my failure was never linked with comparisons, they always told u simply – if you fail you loose but you learn…it has helped us grow accepting failure and learning…

  • sugandha
    7 April 2014 at 5:47 pm

    My parents always taught us to accept failure…also they were probably too practical, my failure was never linked with comparisons, they always told u simply – if you fail you loose but you learn…it has helped us grow accepting failure and learning…

  • S(t)ri
    7 April 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Failure – The first time it pains but as time moves on we become matured to think past it!!! I am almost there nearing the end of maturity cycle!!! πŸ™‚
    S(t)ri recently posted…Fair & Square – AToZ Challenge 2014 – Day6My Profile

  • S(t)ri
    7 April 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Failure – The first time it pains but as time moves on we become matured to think past it!!! I am almost there nearing the end of maturity cycle!!! πŸ™‚
    S(t)ri recently posted…Fair & Square – AToZ Challenge 2014 – Day6My Profile

  • Zita
    7 April 2014 at 6:59 pm

    I am not sure if it’s due to a fear of failure or a fear of missing out or something going wrong but I certainly am not a risk-taker. I love to play it safe and know the outcomes of the decisions I am making..
    Zita recently posted…for FMy Profile

  • Zita
    7 April 2014 at 6:59 pm

    I am not sure if it’s due to a fear of failure or a fear of missing out or something going wrong but I certainly am not a risk-taker. I love to play it safe and know the outcomes of the decisions I am making..
    Zita recently posted…for FMy Profile

  • Aditi
    7 April 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Great post PB! We need to embrace failure too like many other things….it helps us grow, learn, become a better person!
    Aditi recently posted…Fuchsia FetishMy Profile

  • Aditi
    7 April 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Great post PB! We need to embrace failure too like many other things….it helps us grow, learn, become a better person!
    Aditi recently posted…Fuchsia FetishMy Profile

  • Shailaja V
    7 April 2014 at 7:11 pm

    So, so true! Failure is a pit-stop. I love this phrase, PB. Failure is not the end of the world. I have a story about that which I will share when I am ready. Much love and many hugs to you. How we grow when we introspect.
    Shailaja V recently posted…Sunshine and SmilesMy Profile

  • Shailaja V
    7 April 2014 at 7:11 pm

    So, so true! Failure is a pit-stop. I love this phrase, PB. Failure is not the end of the world. I have a story about that which I will share when I am ready. Much love and many hugs to you. How we grow when we introspect.
    Shailaja V recently posted…Sunshine and SmilesMy Profile

  • Obsessivemom
    7 April 2014 at 7:11 pm

    Oh yes you’re so right. In classes as young as two and three when a child would repeat a class in our school she would be termed a ‘failure’. Like someone would look at an unfamiliar face in the classroom and ask ‘Is she a new girl?’ and another girl would reply, ‘No she’s a failure’… how horrid is that? And we all said it pretty matter of factly without understanding the full import of it. Interestingly ‘those’ girls are doing pretty well for themselves in life. It’s weird this branding of people.
    Obsessivemom recently posted…F for Helen FieldingMy Profile

  • Obsessivemom
    7 April 2014 at 7:11 pm

    Oh yes you’re so right. In classes as young as two and three when a child would repeat a class in our school she would be termed a ‘failure’. Like someone would look at an unfamiliar face in the classroom and ask ‘Is she a new girl?’ and another girl would reply, ‘No she’s a failure’… how horrid is that? And we all said it pretty matter of factly without understanding the full import of it. Interestingly ‘those’ girls are doing pretty well for themselves in life. It’s weird this branding of people.
    Obsessivemom recently posted…F for Helen FieldingMy Profile

  • nabanita
    7 April 2014 at 7:27 pm

    I’m bad at accepting failure… But I eventually get on with life after shedding tears…another post from you that made me ponder…
    nabanita recently posted…F is for Faithful in FriendshipMy Profile

  • nabanita
    7 April 2014 at 7:27 pm

    I’m bad at accepting failure… But I eventually get on with life after shedding tears…another post from you that made me ponder…
    nabanita recently posted…F is for Faithful in FriendshipMy Profile

  • Soumya
    7 April 2014 at 8:25 pm

    Failure has taught me more than what success could have. And I’m proud of myself for that.

    This post of yours says so much to me. And I totally love that! πŸ™‚
    Soumya recently posted…E – ExcellenceMy Profile

  • Soumya
    7 April 2014 at 8:25 pm

    Failure has taught me more than what success could have. And I’m proud of myself for that.

    This post of yours says so much to me. And I totally love that! πŸ™‚
    Soumya recently posted…E – ExcellenceMy Profile

  • sunila
    7 April 2014 at 8:30 pm

    Wise post and very true πŸ™‚
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  • sunila
    7 April 2014 at 8:30 pm

    Wise post and very true πŸ™‚
    sunila recently posted…Food and yogaMy Profile

  • Danny Simon
    7 April 2014 at 8:58 pm

    I’ve always been a failure in most of my arrears growing up… but today I sit back n thank God that I failed then… you said it well… failures are great opportunities when perceived correctly… Great post!
    Danny Simon recently posted…E for EncouragementMy Profile

  • Danny Simon
    7 April 2014 at 8:58 pm

    I’ve always been a failure in most of my arrears growing up… but today I sit back n thank God that I failed then… you said it well… failures are great opportunities when perceived correctly… Great post!
    Danny Simon recently posted…E for EncouragementMy Profile

  • Shalini
    7 April 2014 at 9:11 pm

    Awesome thought!! And it was only two days ago, that my appraisal at work was released. And yeah, inspite of doing such hardwork, I’m rated average- CORPORATE LIFE- I tell you!!!- Failure of fulfilling expectations!!!! πŸ™ πŸ™
    Shalini recently posted…FOREVER ALONE NO MORE- 6My Profile

  • Shalini
    7 April 2014 at 9:11 pm

    Awesome thought!! And it was only two days ago, that my appraisal at work was released. And yeah, inspite of doing such hardwork, I’m rated average- CORPORATE LIFE- I tell you!!!- Failure of fulfilling expectations!!!! πŸ™ πŸ™
    Shalini recently posted…FOREVER ALONE NO MORE- 6My Profile

  • Cifar
    7 April 2014 at 9:47 pm

    Really motivational article, my A to Z challenge journey at The Other Side
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  • Cifar
    7 April 2014 at 9:47 pm

    Really motivational article, my A to Z challenge journey at The Other Side
    Cifar recently posted…FrozenMy Profile

  • Michelle Liew
    7 April 2014 at 10:59 pm

    I guess we’re not afraid of failure…we’re afraid of what people will think of us when we fail.
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  • Michelle Liew
    7 April 2014 at 10:59 pm

    I guess we’re not afraid of failure…we’re afraid of what people will think of us when we fail.
    Michelle Liew recently posted…How do you feel about guests?My Profile

  • Richa Singh
    7 April 2014 at 11:26 pm

    It was something else. Your post is not about not failing and also about not being screamed at post failing. In fact it shows how that is an integral part. I have had similar incidents in my life too. I believe and feel failure or the fear of failure helps us make our B plan as strong as A.
    Richa Singh recently posted…Living the future you plannedMy Profile

  • Richa Singh
    7 April 2014 at 11:26 pm

    It was something else. Your post is not about not failing and also about not being screamed at post failing. In fact it shows how that is an integral part. I have had similar incidents in my life too. I believe and feel failure or the fear of failure helps us make our B plan as strong as A.
    Richa Singh recently posted…Living the future you plannedMy Profile

  • Lisa M
    8 April 2014 at 1:22 am

    Great post. As parents, we always wonder if we are pushing too hard…not hard enough. I pray we find balance most days. I have learned from failure and watch in wonder as my kiddos do the same. I completely agree with the fear of failure motivating us to work harder!
    Lisa M recently posted…F is for Fiddle-dee-dee, A to Z blog challengeMy Profile

  • Lisa M
    8 April 2014 at 1:22 am

    Great post. As parents, we always wonder if we are pushing too hard…not hard enough. I pray we find balance most days. I have learned from failure and watch in wonder as my kiddos do the same. I completely agree with the fear of failure motivating us to work harder!
    Lisa M recently posted…F is for Fiddle-dee-dee, A to Z blog challengeMy Profile

  • maggie
    8 April 2014 at 3:06 am

    Our fear of not wanting to screw up doesn’t let us do almost 90% of the things we want to. That’s why I like kinds, they have no sense of ‘failure’ so they do anything and everything, they get hurt, dust themselves off and begin afresh!
    maggie recently posted…Feminism makes me happyMy Profile

  • maggie
    8 April 2014 at 3:06 am

    Our fear of not wanting to screw up doesn’t let us do almost 90% of the things we want to. That’s why I like kinds, they have no sense of ‘failure’ so they do anything and everything, they get hurt, dust themselves off and begin afresh!
    maggie recently posted…Feminism makes me happyMy Profile

  • Laurel Regan
    8 April 2014 at 6:07 am

    I truly believe that the only real failure is in giving up. Every time we try again is another opportunity for success.
    Laurel Regan recently posted…Blogging from A to Z Challenge – F is for…My Profile

  • Laurel Regan
    8 April 2014 at 6:07 am

    I truly believe that the only real failure is in giving up. Every time we try again is another opportunity for success.
    Laurel Regan recently posted…Blogging from A to Z Challenge – F is for…My Profile

  • simple girl
    8 April 2014 at 3:09 pm

    I am scared of failing because I am worried about the lost time..
    simple girl recently posted…AtoZchallenge – G for Gyandal pataMy Profile

  • simple girl
    8 April 2014 at 3:09 pm

    I am scared of failing because I am worried about the lost time..
    simple girl recently posted…AtoZchallenge – G for Gyandal pataMy Profile

  • Shilpa Garg
    9 April 2014 at 11:24 pm

    OH, I can so relate to this. I remember, I had failed in unit tests in 2 subjects when in class 8 and the pressure was so much on me. In fact, I still cant forget the looks of sympathy from some neighbours. Yes, failing is not an option for us!
    Shilpa Garg recently posted…H is to HoldMy Profile

  • Shilpa Garg
    9 April 2014 at 11:24 pm

    OH, I can so relate to this. I remember, I had failed in unit tests in 2 subjects when in class 8 and the pressure was so much on me. In fact, I still cant forget the looks of sympathy from some neighbours. Yes, failing is not an option for us!
    Shilpa Garg recently posted…H is to HoldMy Profile