In the past couple of weeks I have been thinking about a lot of things. The one thing that would not leave my mind though was failure. Failure, simply defined is “a lack of success in or at something”. This definition got me thinking and helped me to see and understand this daunting word and phenomenon in a completely different light. I had often heard people say that failure is necessary, but I never would agree.
See, for someone who has never experienced failure, the latter may not be as fearsome as it had been for me. Thing is, when I was in grade 9, I spent the whole year in class, daily doing my homework and writing every test there was. I did all my assignments and handed them in on time. Anyone who knows me will know that, especially in my younger youth, I loved to sleep, so I counted every minute and hour that I spent preparing for school instead of sleeping. Well, there was one thing that I could sacrifice my sleep for, and that was reading…anything but my school books. When asked to do a book review, I read 5 books so that I could choose which one I thought I could do justice and get a good review on.
Anyway, getting back to the point, in that year, like every other year, I expected that my natural wit would see me through to the next grade. I was always fortunate in that I never had to put in any work, I would get good grades without even trying. But this year was different. Like I said, I did everything I had done previously, but when the time came for the final exam reports, I was informed that I had failed. Noone in my family believed it, of course I also didn’t. I spent the rest of my high school career waiting to be told that they had made a mistake and that I would be pushed up by a grade….and today, 16 years later, I am still waiting.
At that stage in my life, failure was the worst thing that could have happened to me. I blamed everything I could. By that I mean I blamed my teachers, they had marked my papers wrong, hence I failed. Well, that’s what I believed, I’m not sure what I believe now, lol. Going back to what I said about the rumour I heard on how failure was necessary, I now look back at my life and the year I had to repeat a grade. I now realise that indeed THAT failure was necessary. Was it good then? NOT! Did I enjoy it? Certainly NOT! But if you were to ask me if I learnt anything from it, I will tell you most DEFINITELY yes!! Having failed, and this not only referring to a class, but a lot of other experiences in life, I can say that failure is necessary. Failure opened my eyes to the fact that life goes on even if things do not work out how I had planned or anticipated. Because of this, I have learnt to take chances and risks. I am not afraid to make mistakes, because I know that even if I do, life still goes on. After failure, I now know that I can pick myself up wiser and greater and go on. See, a lot of people in life can say that they don’t fail. Granted! But I have also realised that a lot of these people who never fail are those who are always “playing it safe”. People who never fail are often those who never take chances, those who are so self-centred and fearful of “what will people think/say” that they don’t ever get to do anything. These are the kind of folk who will choose the easiest option, which most of the time means they are selling themselves short. As much as I hate using generalisations, I can’t say this without generalising. Forgive me, but I’m not sorry.
Usually, those who are scared to fail are those who have not the ability to laugh at themselves, which by the way, I think is one of the greatest characteristics to have in life. The ability to laugh at yourself opens you up to endless possibilities and enables you to knock on doors that may get slammed in your face; doors that most people would never go knocking on because of fear. You go knocking so that even if all goes wrong, at least you walk away knowing that you had tried. Unlike the person who stands at a distance and watch you do life and laughs at your downfalls and failures. This person will never do life; they will always watch life go by, because they have pride without even realising it. Even God says He honours the humble and despises the proud.
Am I saying you must yourself up to fail? No. All I am saying is that we should be able to do all that we want and desire, not being held back by the fear of falling or failing. Will we fail? Maybe we will maybe we won’t, but there is no way we can know without taking risks and putting ourselves out there. Live your life with no fears but the reverent fear of God, because after all, He already knows when and where you will fail. He has made provision to counsel, comfort and encourage you to go on and be the best He has created you to be.
So, having said all of this, all I am really saying is: do not fear to fail, if you do, you cripple yourself. If you fear to fail, you become the stumbling block to your potential. Fear to fail will cause you to never reach the best you could; if only you tried.