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failure Feb 02, 2021

Have there been times in your life when you have felt like you have failed as a parent, friend, child, student, worker? Do the feelings of failure overwhelm you and knock your confidence to the point where you lose motivation? Has failure ever driven you to do better? Are their moments when you have self reflected on seeming failures and realized these moments were moments of growth? 

We have all experienced the feelings of failure. Failure to complete a project, failure to make a sports team, failure to 'raise our children right,' failure to pass exams, Failure to be that good friend or wife etc..

However, these moments in our lives require perspective within the context of a life's journey and also reflection on who has set and determined the criteria for what constitutes 'success.' For every seemingly failure we are reminded of, there are stories in our lives that have brought us and others joy. The infamous story of Michael Jordan, basketball player, who never made the cut for his high school team and spent the season as the waterboy, can be used as an example of societal perceived failure to not 'make it.' Yet at a larger scale and plan as we now know of him, it was part of his story at being one of the greatest basketball players in the world.

There are endless 'failure' stories that show, moments in our lives when we are knocked down, are transient and temporary. They also provide times in our lives to challenge the environments around us, to deconstruct what success is. Success comes in an array of experiences, from being a good friend, to being a loving partner, to trying our best to correct our harms on others, to being there for a loved one. 

Failure is part of success, Challenge is part of success, therefore failure can’t be avoided and is a critical part of moving forward.

Impacts on perceived failures 

Accompanying this idea that we have failed miserably at something, are feelings that can make us feel distraught. If we are constantly reminded by others, we take on this perception that we are no good, we cannot do anything, and we have no skills, or heart to accomplish anything.  These perceptions affect our self-esteem and self-worth and we can spiral into a pit of despair. It takes a moment to step aside and reflect, to take hold of a situation and understand it is only a part of our lives. We need to be able to approach seemingly failures with balance, not letting the experience consume us. We need to remind ourselves of our light. 

Try doing these 3 things when you feel distraught because of failure:

  1. Take action to climb out of that manhole, action makes failure only temporary

  2. Turn failure into knowledge is shining a light onto your success

  3. You are responsible for your success, and might not be the cause of your failures.


Honouring and Serving,
Simran K. Rattan MD

Content support Maria Peach


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