Our Success Depends On How We Handle Failure

Source — Google Images

It was the 17th time that I was running the code of a key feature. Like the other 16 times, it failed once again. The consecutive failures of my code, made me label myself a failure, an utter useless failure!

It’s defining moments of failure like this that change you from within.

I had always thought of myself as a ‘decent’ coder. I could solve most problems, if had enough time. I had tried this problem for days, to no avail. The label of ‘failure’ was apt for me. Amidst this sinking feeling, my mind presented me with two paths —

The ‘I can’t do it’ path

This path was the easy way out. It required no effort, no responsibility and no restraint. In fact, most of my colleagues suggested this path! When I put in a little thought into it, I figured that this path was the first choice to most people including me, because we like things easy. But, goal I was pursuing anything but easy. As soon as I realized that the destination was not ‘easy’, it became obvious that the path I needed to take also wouldn’t be easy. The ‘I can’t do it’ path was very attractive, but it wasn’t the path for me.

The ‘I can’t give up’ path

This path is not for the faint-hearted. It not only requires effort, responsibility and restraint, but also patience and perseverance. As I began to weigh in the advantages and disadvantages of this path, I heard my colleagues tell me to ‘take a break’, ‘wait for someone else to do it’ etc. All of them wanted me to steer away from the ‘I can’t give up’ path. It made sense because we expect results in the blink of an eye, when it doesn’t happen our first instinct is to question our ability and give up. I knew that my ability wasn’t the ‘best’, but I also knew that my ability was trust worthy. I decided to press forward in the not-so-popular ‘I can’t give up’ path.

After a lot of pushing through, I had the chance of compiling my code for the 18th time. The result…FAILURE. I was presented with the choice, yet again. I chose the ‘I can’t give up’ path again and again.

In the face of failure, I won’t throw my hands up and give up. I will look failure in the eye and push through, because I can’t give up.

After choosing the ‘I can’t give up’ path over and over again, I was able to zero in on the exact issue in my code and fix it. The ride was bumpy and lonely, but I did reach the destination.

Key Take-aways

  • You will fail, eventually.
  • When you fail, you have two distinct paths to choose from — 
    The easy ‘I can’t do it’ path and The difficult ‘I can’t give up’ path.
  • Most people will recommend the ‘I can’t do it’ path, ignore them.
  • The ‘I can’t give up’ path may seem endless, walk on it anyway.
  • After choosing the ‘I can’t give up’ path over and over again, you will succeed.
  • We can handle failure by giving up or pushing through. Giving up will destroy your success but pushing through will take you closer to it.

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