So I remember how all through high school we’d be forced to write short essays on Success and the factors affecting people’s success stories and I don’t believe how silly, almost just paraphrased all our write-ups would be (because that was what was expected of us then- a simple sense of correct grammar with a smattering of vocabulary was enough to fetch you the mark you thought you deserved, regardless of if the essay was plagiarised or not). All my reservations regarding the education system aside, there’s a huge issue I find in the problem of analyzing success and glorifying the mother of all abstract concepts- there can never be one single statutory definition of success and that in itself disqualifies the right of failure being such an issue in our lives. All our lives we do things we’re assuredly good at or are meant to be good at so we can avoid failure but doesn’t failure just become moot when there is a big logical gap in what success is and hence, what you consider as failure?
So often we go without questioning what our personal definition of success is that we are forced to accept the societal definition to failure. I can’t stress as to how blind society can be to the weak- it’s very good at rejoicing at the feet of the powerful and barely casting anything to the weak except for a look of aspersion (if deigning to cast it in the first place). There’s a significant need, thus, to define your own parameters for success and justify your standards for failure accordingly and on that scale, grading the success of your life (if you want to, obviously). I remember that I’d in my final exam, written a very out of the ordinary essay and questioned the definitions of success very rhetorically citing the example of Madame Curie – she died doing the very work that immortalized her name but then was she really successful because she ultimately failed in survival and thus could be called a failure? (In modern societal terms, I’m sure people would have had doubts regarding her success). (That essay changed my life because for the first time did I actually risk my neck in writing controversially and because it paid off and I gained some confidence in myself for being able to impress myself extempore.)
In this article, all I’ve tried to do is to tell you failure is not absolute. In every one of those pathetic high school essays have we all written legends on hard work ad patience and perseverance. Not once did we mention failure because it would seem too controversial in an essay on success right? Wrong. Every one of us should have considered why we were stressing upon perseverance, patience and tenacity- because everyone had to have needed it when they failed. Why hard work? What led them past all the failure that eventually led them to succeed? It’s so funny that never have these success stories have never called their struggles failures- because they weren’t. There’s no definition of failure after the initiative succeeded because the success didn’t manifest out of thin air. The struggles and problems that we like to call failure very often will never matter once that Success is reached. So why, why, pray tell me(leave a reply), do we fear failure so much? Or keep it as much as possible at bay? And why do we insist that success and failure are mutually exclusive even?
We’ve been blind all along, maybe, or just busy plagiarising essays out of substandard books.
(PS. Every time I use the word success or any other form of it in this article, I’m being slightly ironic and sarcastic because I don’t personally believe in success as a concept but here success is the dictionary meaning or whatever people consider it to be.)