Greatest Lesson of 2017: Success
“Success is not the opposite of failure… Success is the by-product of many failures”
Today, in the digital age, every minute we are smothered by the inundated achievements of others — but what we choose to share is often NEVER the full story.
When we only showcase the pinnacle of our success and consciously omit the long-winded struggles we faced to get there, we contribute to the facade that success is jumping from one victory to another; that success is the pure absence of rejection, setbacks, dare I say it…“failure”.
But if only we saw the WHOLE truth. If only everyone also shared the countless moments of defeat that preceded any miniscule inkling of their progress. If only we knew how many times our idols were knocked down, only to get back up that once more.
Maybe then, we would see that true success is never a momentary win, chance event or detached from many “failures”; but instead, the outcome when we just don’t give up on “failing” again.
Look, I confess that I’m a serial offender of the “this-week-I-did-this-amazing-thing-and-won-this post” too — but as always, we must practise what we preach…so let me start with sharing my full story:
On the surface, I could honestly recite to my peers that at age 19, I’ve been awarded 5 academic scholarships, had 16 jobs, worked overseas 3 times, privately tutored 31 students, qualified and swam at a state finals once, published an article in public health that was cited by the Medical Journal of Australia, interned at one of the top cutting-edge Australian medical research facilities, been invited to speak at 6 conference/camp occasions, been an agency represented model, founded my first social start-up project and landed the first big client before even launching.
But that all means NOTHING until I share the real achievement that at age 19, I’ve also made 41 scholarship applications, submitted 56 job applications, trained for the state swimming competition 6 years in a row, was rejected from undergraduate medical school, applied to 16 different medical research projects, was un-cast from 4 modelling gig auditions and unsuccessfully pitched the first 6 versions of the start-up (when the first time someone literally laughed out loud at the idea).
Reading those two sets of figures, would have depicted two completely separate images of the same person. But no matter who asks — I’ll always present myself as the second because those numbers are a better measure of one’s true success. Although they reveal countless rejections (and let’s be honest, are not impressive at all) they also uncover the level of one’s determination, magnitude of one’s motivation and bare the unseen labour that underpinned every earned opportunity.
No one is immune to rejection, so let’s no kid ourselves narrating our stories that way. Maybe then, we would break the man-made and media-magnified facade that success is the absence of failure.
Wishing everyone a blessed beginning to 2018!