Red mark. X. Stern looks. Dejected eyes, all signify failure.
Adults are told that failure is perception and one must look at the learnings. But why isn’t 5-year-old Cindy given the same when she scores 2/10 in her Math test or when a teenager is third in a race?
We are constantly discussing success and reinventing the perception of failure. And what do the forms in which we fail to say about who we are and how we think? Malcolm Gladwell rightly says in his book, Art of Failure.
I bring 4 stories. Feel free to perceive them as a failure and find a lesson. Although, I didn’t feel the need to find any. To me, these were just situations.
Trapped in straps
She was in first grade and excited about her new swimwear! With the multiple crossover straps, it was surely a complicated piece of clothing for a 7-year-old. That’s why she relied her mother to help her put it on. One day her mother was not around and the bulb in the changing room was not working. So, she ended up changing in the dark. After stepping out, she realized that her swimsuit covered only the parts that didn’t necessarily need any covering. All the kids laughed at her and she hastily made way back to the change room.
As an adult, she believes that asking for help at that moment could have saved her the embarrassment.
He took up the 100 days of 100 push up challenge. The first ten days were challenging for the body, but the remaining were about conquering mind On the 67th day, he decided to stop the challenge. His mind defeated his body.
But he is at peace and satisfied with his attempts and at peace for completing the 67th day.
A very long jump
In grade seven, he participated in several track and field events but was especially looking forward to long jump. His goal was to beat his past record.
On the day of tryouts, he forgot the sports uniform at home but he was not going to give up easily. He decided to seek permission to run in his regular uniform -shirt and trousers. Anyone in his “shoes” knows that partaking in long jump wearing trousers can be challenging in many ways.
Despite lack of practice, he relied solely on the confidence based on past victory to repeat the feat.
He queued up for the tryouts barefoot, wearing an imaginary cape as if he was the hero of track & field games. The participants had to complete three qualifying jumps, at the end of which the top 7 participants would then compete for the top 3 spots. His first jump was disqualified as he started the past the jump line. The next two jumps were abysmal, and his dream of becoming Carl Lewis was cut short.
This experience did not result in any major takeaways. It stayed with him so it must mean something.
Colouring outside the lines
Every year, during summer vacations my mother enrolled me in the art class. I looked forward to socialising with other children more than I enjoyed learning. I was an obedient child and so I took up these lessons every year. Did my persistence pay off? No, I did not learn much or got better at it. Even as an adult I can't draw or keep the colours inside the lines.
I showed up to the classes and did my thing.