Home > Ideas > Fail, the new Mantra – Reflections!

Fail, the new Mantra – Reflections!

The article I wrote two days, Fail …. The New Mantra, (Click on link to read), evoked strong emotions among readers. Those feelings were either tinged with hope, especially for parents who were preparing their kids to meet tomorrow’s challenges, and wistful, for people of my generation who think it is too late for them.

The former group now realises that some of the strictures passed on them by risk-averse parents were counter-productive and had stopped them from doing what they would have loved to do the most. Now, as parents they are talking about averting a painful repeat by providing their kids the freedom to experiment and to pursue the career of their choice.

The latter group (which also includes some of the parents mentioned earlier) carry a deep sense of loss – they feel that the missed opportunities and the inability to do what they most wished to do has left a painful gash in their heart that refuses to mend. They think that given the freedom to choose they would have been on a different trajectory today. But I think they can learn a think or two from the friend I wrote about in the first article.

Bindu, a parent, said this:

“Loved this one! I think it is a message we have to give our kids – “It is ok to fail provided you do your best”. That would really give them the confidence to try their best and if things go wrong, it is still ok. You just learn and try harder the next time, maybe on something else.”

Bindu will be appreciated and cherished by her kids for the huge opportunity she provided – it would be seen as her stamp of confidence / approval on their potential.

Kathy, who is from Kerala but now settled in Britain, had this to say:

Jay, when I was in school my mom used to tell me, ”Study well Dear. Only then can you get a Government job, which would give you a secure future till death”. It was instilled into all of us siblings. Failure was a word that was taboo. But the present generation has inspired everyone, including old timers, to take risks, to venture into unknown realms and recover from failures. I have seen a lot of friends here in the UK who are happy in spite of their failures; even in their jobless state they are willing to take risk because for them all failures are stepping stones to their betterment. Its something I learnt after coming here and I am happy for it. It has made me a better person. The example of your friend is true….i can relate to it very well….People who have got back to their feet in spite of failures are the true champions and not the people who have never tried and still lament about failing.”

There is nothing left for me to add – Kathy said it all.

Biju Raju, a doctor, put a different spin on the subject by saying this:

“Well written article, J! Taking about failure – I had faced a situation where failure was not an option.

I like the idea of just slowing down and analyzing about the process of failure. It was very motivating to read. Thanks you.”

I am thankful to the good doctor for giving the discussion a new twist – in domains such as Medicine and Aviation RISK is a bad word. Avoidance of risk at all costs is the motto of Surgeons, Dentists, Pilots, Engineers and Aviation Authorities. Zero Defect or Prevention is the philosophy espoused by them.

However, planes do crash and patients die while undergoing treatment causing unimaginable and irreparable loss. In such situations it is insensitive to say that it is Okay and we have to take it in our stride. But there is a possibility that the illness has reached such an advance stage that even the application of the most modern medicine and method is unable to quell the disease. Air-crashes can take place on account of bad weather. Such failures cannot be avoided or planned for; however, human error and negligence, which are the biggest causes of failure, can be averted and that is the crux of my argument.

Dr. Biju Raju saw merit in that stance and his input enriched our discussion.

I also thank Mr. Ponmelil Abraham who posted these kind words after reading the article:

“Jayadev, your presentation is great. God bless you for helping people recover from failure and be very successful in their life.”

Such words never fail to motivate me!

My message to the parents – Dare to let your children think differently. Permit them to mess with new ideas, and maybe fail too, within safe limits.

And to people of my generation – It is never too late to fall in love or to let your dreams soar!

I saw this quote from Paulo Coelho on my Facebook wall as I was putting the finishing touches to this article:

“Only one thing makes a dream impossible – the fear of failure!”

  1. November 28, 2012 at 4:15 am

    I will never let them forget the key thing though, ‘doing your best’ 😉

    • JayadevM
      November 28, 2012 at 4:20 am

      I hear you, Tiger Mom! 🙂

      • November 28, 2012 at 5:47 am

        Elephant mom is more like it, that’s the animal my kids mostly associate with me 😀

      • JayadevM
        November 28, 2012 at 6:34 am

        Ha! Ha! Ha!

        No comments … they know best!

  2. November 28, 2012 at 4:28 am

    Dear Jay,

    Very impressive and deeply meaningful responses to your article. Great work! It is a great gift to be able to touch people so deeply. In my workshops, there are some intensively competitive activities where one team wins and other teams fail. There is a great deal of pressure, rules, timelines, and penalties. In spite of this, even in the team that comes last, no one ever feels like a loser. In fact, they can be seen consoling the person responsible for the failure in a particular round, regrouping, analysing what needs to be done differently, and then moving on. And strangely enough, more than 85% of the time, it is a team that fails in the beginning that goes on to finally WIN ! When the learning is discussed, one of the key insights is, “When no one’s commitment is in question, failure does not make anyone a loser. In fact failure can become a powerful learning, bonding, and empowering process that makes the team more interdependent, and alert. A team or individual that is not prepared to fall, will never learn to fly.”

    Keep up the good work, Jay.


  3. Jamy
    November 28, 2012 at 7:37 am

    Jay, better late than never, have responded to the previous blog! Very relevant and refreshing analysis on change in thought!!

    • JayadevM
      November 28, 2012 at 8:05 am

      Hey Jamy,

      Thank you for the continued support.

      And yes, I can relate to what you said about having to move away from Engineering because I have experienced the same tussle in my mind.

  4. Kathy
    November 28, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    Nice….nice….ty so much Jay for featuring me….i feel like a STAR…

    • JayadevM
      November 28, 2012 at 9:11 pm


      The pleasure is mine.

      I liked the inputs received from you. Glad that I could return the compliment.

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