Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Failures – Accept, Learn and Move On

As a college going kid, I used to watch many martial arts movies, mostly made in Hong Kong and dubbed in English. One common character in these movies was a Master (Sensei) who would throw rocks of wisdom at every opportunity. I remember from one of them…”It’s not the man who can hit the hardest, but the man who can take the hardest punch who will come out winner every time”.

How true. When we fight, we must have the ability to handle a punch, a hard punch at that…in order to be in the fight and finish it our way.

Accept it, if you are in a fight, you are going to get punched....
If you are in traffic, you will get stuck....
If you can run, you can fall...

In our work life, we always aim for a success, but face it, some failures are bound to happen. These could be small or large. But our approach to the failures will decide the outcome of the project. Can we take it and turn things around?

Every failure will bring it’s own learnings. That’s why champions never quit when down. How many times have we seen Roger Federer fight from two sets down, or winning a set when trailing 1-4. There’s an inherent belief, that he can overcome the challenge, and being a few games down or a set under, can change if he continues to work at it. Of course, the game plan changes, he may attack the net a little more or prolong the rallies..

Failure, Problem, Issue or an unexpected undesirable event or outcome will happen, sooner or later…and by Murphy’s law, it may happen at the worst time of the project. We can do a much better job of overcoming or getting around the problems, if we accept them first. Develop an understanding and figure a strategy to work, and Move

We can always find a solution, or find people who can find the solution. Or it’ll be a new thing…hence opportunity to innovate!

Either way, you come out a winner.

What differentiates you from the crowd is your ability to execute a difficult project, since easy ones can be executed by anyone.

So prepare yourself for failures, expect them as much as you expect success…and as Sensei in the Kung Fu movie said, you’ll win the match.


  1. nobody can learn to ride a bicycle without falling..and if we are afraid of getting hurt we will never enjoy the bicycle ride...

    i believe mistake should be unique and a mistake is eqivalent to a milestone for learning.

  2. Absolute agree to this post...A little baby while learning walking falls many times before he actually walks, each fall is a failure but he never gives up, his enthusiasm forces him to try once more and ultimately he walks.What matters in life is how we face failures, whether we get bogged down or we learn from them and move on.

  3. It mainly depends on how you analyze your failures.
    On not being able to find a solution to produce a better storage battery, Thomas Alva Edison said, in response to a query on his failures, that he has not failed, he has just found 10,000 ways that won't work.

    Basically, what I mean is that it all depends on your perception of failures.
    Do you see failure as a milestone or as a roadblock.

  4. @Anshul: Completely agree...and cycling is such a great example of so many things. Mistakes are ok.
    @Rajat: Yes. Enthusiasm is the key.
    @Amit: Great example of outlook.

    Thanks to all for sharing.

  5. well written sir..
    best lines...
    "We can always find a solution, or find people who can find the solution. Or it’ll be a new thing…hence opportunity to innovate!

    Either way, you come out a winner."

    perhaps the only word which has same antonym and synonym as "success"
    a perception is required to understand the above sentence same as in the case of a "failure"

  6. That is Correct - All depends upon individual, situations and timing. I would take Failure as learning, opportunity to improve and move one step forward.