Monday, November 02, 2009

Every success needs a failure

A while ago I wrote a piece on 'Bittersweet Success' - talking about the sweet taste of success and the even sweeter taste of courage needed to face failure. Numerous works have been dedicated to the beauty of the former, while stories of failure are almost always relegated to the dusty back corners of the world. After all, no one really wants to hear stories of people who set ideals and ended up losing the boat somewhere.

But I feel that failure perhaps is almost as important as success. Not just for one to be able to realize how beautiful success is, but also to realize how important some other attributes are in order to be truly successful. Success cannot be measured only by a metric of 'got what I set out to get'. Success is an all - round feeling. One that begins with an accomplished task list and ends with a count of the number of people left smiling in a room after you leave. Unfortunately, many a time, those who achieve the first part of the definition of success, end up devastating part 2. Arrogance, pride and a degree of 'I am superior' take over and in the eyes of others, these attributes overshadow the accomplishments one may boast of. People's backs are very poor stepping stones. A position reached by treading on the heads and necks of others almost always rests on a very shaky foundation. But in the heady feeling that goes with steamrolling success, people almost never seem to care.

It is here that a small failure can help. It can teach people what it feels like to be on the receiving side of arrogance, pride and the 'I am superior' attitude. And just like how success is addictive and habitual success is a trait that one wishes to hold on to forever, a taste of being on the receiving end stays with people forever, and it manages to temper down spiky success and mould really successful people.

2 comments:

Nandan said...

Well written.
This post suddenly reminded me of a programme at IIT Mumbai School of Managment during which I was given a card (painted black on one side and white on the other) and asked to speak on it for as long as I can.

Remembering some of the things I said that day...
"This card shows us the way of life. The colors-black and white mean so many things to me. In one way they represent success and failure. In another way happiness and sorrow. In another day and night. angel and devil. pure and impure. peace and tension. Pass and fail........
What we generally don't accept is that one exists adn gains value only because the other exist. Only a person who has failed can realize how sweet success can be. Only a person who has faced lots of pain can appreciate how much little comfort brings happiness means to him. These things are so complimentary. One needs the other's backing to stand up... yet is so different from the other.
The world we have been living in is mighty hard to beat- we get thorns with every rose, but aren't the roses sweet ?"
I know it was boring... yet!
Cheers

Jasnoor said...

Beautifully Written. Can't tell you how many times I have thought the same thing. Remind me to discuss this next time we meet :P