No one likes failure. Having said that, it is also true that failure is an inevitable part of a person’s journey to success. You can’t come across a successful person who has never seen any failure in life. Failure teaches you things that even success can’t. It forces you to introspect, to look for alternate ways to succeed and in some cases, to move out of your comfort zone and enter into the alien world of harsh reality. In many ways, failure also acts as the differentiator between those who are determined enough to make themselves be counted and those who aren’t yet ready to take the tough path right now. There are stories galore of people who made failure a stepping stone in their journey towards glory. Some of these stories teach you the value of facing your worst fears no matter what, till the time they evaporate. One such story belongs to the renowned Indian philosopher, Swami Vivekananda.
This particular incident of Vivekananda’s life occurred in Sarnath where he was returning home after visiting a Durga temple and was passing through a narrow lane on his way. On one side of the lane was a large tank of water while there was a high wall on the other side. Vivekananda found himself surrounded by monkeys in this lane. Not allowing him to go any further, the monkeys seemed agitated and ready to attack him. Every time he tried to make a move forward, the monkeys howled and shrieked and clutched at his feet, scaring him away. Whenever they went closer to him, he began to run, out of the fear of being bitten. The faster he ran, the bolder the monkeys grew and attempted to bite at him. Just when he was about to give in and go back to the temple to wait for the path to be cleared of monkeys, he heard an old sanyasi calling out to him, “Face the brutes!”. These words brought him back to his senses. He stopped running away from the monkeys and turned back majestically to boldly face the irate monkeys. Not expecting such a response from him, the monkeys fell back and fled! Realising the worth of small but extremely significant advice given by the sanyasi, Vivekananda bowed before the sanyasi, who smiled back and walked away.
Fear of an adverse outcome stops us from going forward in life many times. In most cases, such fears not just hurt you professionally but personally as well. Our mind inflates the challenges we are facing, forcing us to doubt our strategy, strength and character. This is where having a strong will comes into the picture. I am in no way saying that you will overcome all your challenges in the first go itself just because you are willing to, but there is no way to knowing it unless you face them head on. In such situations, even if you end up being defeated, you would at least know what not to do the next time around, which is equally important. The more you back down when faced with tough situations, the more difficult it becomes for you to regain your confidence and be prepared for the challenges upfront.
People have a hundred answers to the question, “What is stopping you from being successful?” Lack of money, lack of time, lack of support and what not! With all these things going against you, you can either afford to sit back and accept that it is just not meant to be or you can buckle up to face all odds because success never comes easy to anyone. No one is waiting for an explanation from you. All your excuses would only remind you of the time when you could have taken another shot at your dreams but you opted to relax and take it easy. You might not understand it now but your success and failures are yours alone. The news of your success or failure may lead to a momentary reaction in someone else but it is you alone who would have to live with the lifelong consequences of your achievements or failures. Thus, work towards your goal as if your life depends on it because it actually does.