Failure Hope and Capability

Failure can be defined as inability to achieve the expected outcome. In our life time nearly 80% of efforts we deploy don’t give us expected outcome. We fail 80% of times in life; still just see the economic and evolutionary success the society across the countries has achieved. Still, failure is surrounded by shame and it hurts our self respect. Problem is, be it school, home or work place we are trained to become successful and we don’t teach ourselves, our kids our co workers to adapt to failure, rather quickly.

Failure as an incidence in itself is not that devastating as much as the events surrounding it tend to project it; events surrounding it, rather than the incidence have larger impact on the person in question. I narrate three stories to present my view of failure, its impact and events surrounding it. First story is that of a Hare and Tortoise, second one is that of same hare and same tortoise and third one too is of both of them as well.

First story is a common one. In a jungle hare and tortoise decided to have a race to prove supremacy. As they ran, hare took a considerable lead and decided to rest for some time, in process he fell asleep and tortoise moving at slow pace overtook him and won the race. The jungle was abuzz with this marvelous feat and the Jungle TV announced the result of race. Tortoise won great praise from all across, while hare was kind of written off. At finish line hare and tortoise both were interviewed. Tortoise was calm and attributed his victory to his perseverance and consistence. Hare, on the other hand had his own interpretation of race. He argued, total time spent in running was much less for him than tortoise, and tortoise was being given undue advantage of time for which hare caught a power nap. The hare challenged tortoise to have another race with him and that would prove who was supreme.

Just have a deeper look, hare was correct in saying total time he spent running was much less than time spent by tortoise. This knowledge and hope of victory made him challenge the tortoise again. Hare never needed to prove his agility when compared to tortoise, still, the way it was presented by jungle TV made him plan an equalizer. It was not the race itself, but the events surrounding it, which embarrassed the hare. To undo this loss of prestige hare challenged tortoise for another race. Another trigger for hare challenging tortoise was hope for a thumping victory.

Second race began on appointed day and hare did not take a nap and won the race by a mile. Hare had ensured he had many practice sessions before the race so as he could assure his victory.

Hare improved upon his capabilities as compared to previous race to win this one, and that’s the most beautiful gift the failure gives, it gives us chance to improve upon our capabilities. Tortoise was hurt badly and immediately had a plan in place. He challenged hare for a longer cross country race; hoping, hare will not be able to sustain for so long. First victory had given tortoise much needed confidence, a natural byproduct of success. Hope and plan to make it a reality was most effective antidote for tortoise to overcome failure and criticism from jungle media. The victory from first race, confidence it generated, hope and plan to succeed, together, made tortoise optimistic. He was not down and out but raring to go.

Third race was planned across all kinds of terrains and ended at other side of the stream in jungle. Race began and hare was way ahead of tortoise. In no time did hare make it to the stream which he had crossed many times while he practiced, but today the flow was heavy and hare could not cross it. Tortoise too reached the stream taking his own time. Hare was sitting by the stream as rain had made it swell and tortoise could not make it to bank of stream as thorns around the stream made it impossible for him to reach the bank. Thorns threatened to tear the soft belly of tortoise. Commentators’ and viewers of jungle TV watched the unfolding of events with excitement. Tortoise was unable to make it to river bank and hare who did it wasn’t a good swimmer to cross the swollen stream. After a long deadlock both agreed to help each another and this would finish the race preserving honor for both. Hare would take tortoise to river bank on his back and tortoise would carry hare on his back to cross stream, both reaching the finish line together.

Both ran to win and none planned what if he loses. Both were staring into a situation where either could have failed to win the race. Still, entrepreneurship and unending zeal to finish the race lead to an innovative solution where honor of both was preserved.

What leads them into 3 races, what lead them to collaborate while they were bitter competitors, is a point worth pondering. Three virtues played major role in it, one, Hope, two, ability to enhance capabilities and third, confidence. Hope and enhancement of capabilities stemmed from failures. Absence of both would not have lead the contest into three races. It was failure rather than success which made both of them stretch them selves and explore physical and mental abilities of endurance.

To make it more relevant I narrate an occurrence of human world. I got an opportunity to watch weightlifting event of contestants with incapacitated lower limbs at CWG games Glasgow. They were rolled into venue on wheel chairs. They lifted weights which no ordinary man can lift, and after every round increased weight to be lifted, it went on till the time limbs trammeled and no longer lifted weights; still they took all three chances before calling quits. God himself failed them, perhaps at birth. My 5 year old daughter asked me if I would also be lifting weights if I were born like one of them, the question shook me. Truly, I would have given up, still I agreed, I would have lifted weights and she was really proud of me planting kisses in appreciation. Important lesson learnt, you don’t fail till the time you accept failure.

If you have antidotes of hope and capability enhancement against failure you never fail, but it needs lot of courage and grit to have these antidotes. It’s important we encourage people around us to develop such antidotes within.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. sk sharma
    Oct 21, 2014 @ 19:51:30

    u have rightly mentioned in this artical that perceverance and consistant efforts surely bring good results. artical is inspiring.


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