“Recently my brother wrote a speech as part of his school assignment. I am posting his speech here which I hope will inspire all of us to look at failure in the right perspective. Not bad advice from a 14 year old.” – Rashvinpal
The year was 1945. British morale was at its lowest. Was it time for the mighty Great Britain to fall? “Success is not final, failure is not fatal but it is the courage to continue that counts the most”, was the rallying call of Prime Minister, Mr Winston Churchill, to boost British morale. Had the British not lifted their spirits from the failure they faced, they would not have won the war and the world would have been different today.
Today I am going to talk about failure. We are obsessed with doing well that we are put down by failures. So, we do not take risks and challenges. Singapore’s Education Minister, Mr Heng Swee Keat lamented that most Singaporeans are not enterprising as they are afraid to fail. They do not want to try new things or get out of their comfort zone for fear of failing. How would you know you can succeed if you don’t even try? If I did not pick myself up when I fell as I took my first step, how would I know how to walk? In fact, it is through repeatedly picking myself up from falls that I learnt to walk with confidence.
So, how should we handle “failure” or something that did not go according to plan?
The difference between those who succeed and fail is the choice we make in handling the situation – we either give up or we pick ourselves up and try again. Being a failure is a choice you make.
Let me share an example of a successful person who picked himself up from many falls. Teachers told Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb, he was “too stupid to learn anything.” As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. Now, if Edison, had not pick himself up and let himself fall every time he failed – would we see light today?
So, don’t let anything fail you. There is no such thing as failure as long as you learn from it.
How then can we do this?
We should focus on the processes and the efforts rather than be obsessed with results. This way, there will be more opportunities to succeed as effort is within our control. As long as you put in effort, you would not have failed. It is the lack of action that will lead to failure.
We should always remind ourselves that failure may be the first step towards success; if we do something about it. We should not cry over spilt milk, instead we should fill up the cup again. It is better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all. How else would you and I know our limitations if we did not try?
What can you do to manage failure? Start with small steps – give encouragement instead of putting down a person. Look at every fall as an opportunity to try new things. Don’t be afraid to fail – pick yourself up and try again. I did! I have stumbled with this speech many times. But this has not stopped me. If I have given up, you would have missed my speech today!
Don’t be afraid to try. Impossible is nothing! Just do it!