When Failure Falls in Love With Success
Keep steady on that path you chose and don’t be fooled by those cocky voices in your head when you reach your goal.
I’ve been through a lot in my life and that has taught me a thing or two about failure, humility, and keeping my ego in check.
I’ve never been a brilliant student or someone that excelled in anything, but I always had a gut feeling that I will succeed in something sooner or later, I didn’t know what exactly I’m going to be good at but I had that conviction deep inside that something is waiting for me to grasp it at the end of the tunnel.
I managed to get my high school diploma with an average GPA and I was very disappointed in how things turned out to be cause rather I like it or not, it will limit my choices.
I felt like a complete failure and that I probably will end up as a barista serving coffee for the rest of my life and doing nothing worth living for. It was a very low point in my life and I didn’t have a clue at that time on what to do next.
Learning From My Failures
I had it rough when I was young, my father was in the Navy and you can imagine the level of expectations that a disciplined good father would have for his children.
He was always talking about his success and how he prevailed despite the hardships he faced during his life, I would guess that any decent parent would have that kind of conversations with his kids, something to encourage them, but quite frankly at that time I didn’t give a damn about all of that and I had a real problem with authority, my sisters didn’t and always looked up to him, so I was the black sheep in the family and that was ok with me.
He signed me up for all kinds of extra-curriculum classes, karate, taekwondo, swimming, jogging, you name it, I always ended up leaving those in a matter of months, and probably that authority problem I have kept me from enjoying or even trying to fit in.
There’s nothing wrong with feeling like an outsider when you try things and you don’t like them but at that time, the feeling that something is wrong had the better of me and I developed a lot of insecurities around people .” I’m a total failure “, that was the echo of every thought that crossed my mind and every interaction with those around me.
I grew up believing that I am not good enough, that I will never be good enough for anyone or anything, over the years I became a loner and my only solstice was reading books and bury myself in a world that doesn’t exist, even seeing myself in some of the characters I read and regretting the world that I would have to face the next day.
Despite the sad atmosphere that such words could exhale, everything I lived was preparing me for the next step in my life.
“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”
― William Shakespeare
All the things that you go through during your life are never by accident or as some might say “the misfortune destiny” but rather the ground stones for the better human being that you are inevitably set out to be.
I Spent the entire period of high-school with that set of mind and didn’t even know what to do next once I had my diploma. I was totally lost.
Be the best version of yourself.
I was always fascinated by the ocean and everything that revolves around the mysteries of the deep blue, and I heard that the Navy has opened a course in Hydrography and it felt like the world is smiling at me for the first time in my life hence the part of joining and getting accepted in the course
My whole life, I wasn’t that brilliant like I said but I always read the things I wanted to read and had a huge interest in general culture and learning languages.
By the age of 14, I was already fluent in French and English, and guess what were the main criteria for being accepted in the course? it was the language test, that’s why I insist on saying that nothing in life happens by chance, everything takes place in our lives for a particular reason for better or for worst.
I joined the course and started a four years program to have a bachelor’s in this fascinating field, I started researching on my own, pushing myself further and always looking to know more and I guess that’s what happens when you really find yourself in your element, you start discovering those hidden figures in yourself, those uncovered qualities waiting for the right setting to be revealed.
To my big surprise, I found out that I work better under pressure which would’ve been insane if you think about it, I was doing research that I was not asked to do and answering questions that weren’t even on the table.
I finished up Top of my class to the surprise of my parent’s cause let’s say things as they are, in their minds, they were waiting for me to quit as I always did with everything I started in my life and put it on the back of a bullshit argument like “it’s not for me” or some other empty excuse.
That’s what I saw in their eyes when I was receiving the prize from the academy commander.
Rather you like it or not, there are times in life that you have to face your demons and try to surpass them and in my case, it was the fact that I never sought things through and tried to make them work.
Don’t let your ego ruin your progress.
As a fresh graduate with such results, I was over the moon, getting offers from within several offices of the Navy treating with geospatial information systems but my goal was loud and clear, I wanted to discover the ocean.
I joined the Hydrographic center of the Navy, it was basically a dream come true and after all those years in denial, looking for who I am and the last four years hustling to be the best, I felt on top of the world and that nothing could break me.
In a junior position in the first two years, I was working crazy hours uncovering the uncharted areas in our coastlines and at the same time processing the data and keeping up with the latest research in the field.
The further I dove in, the more I felt so far away from those around me at work on the technical level at that time and that was when I started acting a little bit cocky letting my ego decide to bring out the worst in me.
We are generally obsessed with right and wrong, blame and shame and we become slaves to a judgmental place, we begin acting from a position of “what do I get” or “How do I look” instead of a loving place of “How do I serve” and “What can I give”.
When you get caught in that spiral analogy of selfish driven desires and start loathing those around you for whatever reason you might think legitimate, those qualities you might think makes you “special” or “remarkable” will start to fade away in the bath of your own despise.
We were in a field exercise two years ago, I was assigned as an instructor for second-year students and one of them seemed to have his way around the tools we are using, he asked me a simple question about one of the basic field operations so I explained it to him and the question he asked me next had the most grounding words I could ever hear especially from a student: “What are you up next, or the fun of doing this stops in this place?” Those were the exact words he used.
I was so caught up in that cocky and arrogant shell that I never thought outside the walls I was working in and more importantly, that ego I developed being good in what I do, made me so blind to the things I still have to learn to move on to the next level, in other words, I was the one that built my own prison with my own set of mind.
How To Manage Your Ego
I went back home that day and spent the entire evening wondering how I got here and literally drowning myself in that question that never once crossed my mind.
I am not a psychologist to tell you generally how to manage your ego cause, believe me, if you are any good at what you do, you will have to face it sooner or later and what I found was that I fed it with three simple things till the point that I crippled myself to see further in my own ambitions and subconsciously stopped myself from evolving :
- I took things way too personally: This is probably because I was derived with proving myself all the way through that I forgot my main purpose when I started my journey. The ego loves to get offended, it loves to feel wounded and it thrives on pain and conflict.
- Forgive: Maybe I didn’t forgive my father for always having low expectations for me, while it’s true that it derived the will to excel but it was coming from a place of hate, that’s maybe also the reason that I tended to despise those around me professionally instead to getting closer to them and learning a thing or two cause whatever you do in life, no one is perfect and the sooner we accept it the better we evolve and thrive from a place of love.
- Let go and observe: Let go of trying to be right all the time, let go of that consistent urge to win, trying to be seen, trying to be heard, and instead, observe, my ego, your ego will try to prove itself and jump up and down to get validation but our higher self doesn’t need validation, it only needs a goal and the humility that lay in its pursuit.
Just because you had a rough start in life, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have genius in you, we all come in different packages but the pain feels the same if you ask me, you’re different, so what, don’t let anyone decide that you are a failure or a success cause our greatest enemy is not someone or something you can see, our greatest enemy lays deep within.
Don’t even think for a second that you’re the best in anything you do, you’re only good enough but the only thing that will make you better is not giving in to your ego and treating people like you’re from another breed, what will make you better is accepting the fact that we all have our demons and we all have battles we fought, battles we are fighting and those waiting to be fought.
“As long as the ego runs your life, most of your thoughts, emotions, and actions arise from desire and fear. In relationships you then either want or fear something from the other person”.― Eckhart Tolle