Are we in a world of failures or success?

Failures seem to have become the headlines of our news, and our lives.

If we look at the news everyday, how many of them are reports of failures?  I reckon there are more than 50% of news relating to failures everyday.  The rest of the news may be success stories learnt from failures.  But is failure really that bad?

Have you heard about this story?

A famous story from IBM told of a man who made a $10M error. He was hauled up before the big boss where he expected to be sacked. Pre-empting this, he apologized and offered his resignation. Refusing the resignation, the boss said ‘Goodness, man, we can’t lose you now! We’ve just spent $10M on your education!’

The famous motto: Failure is the mother of success.  Without failures, it is unlikely we could succeed, in the long run, and in a sustainable way.

Failures in society.  Is that a common topic that we often used for our chit-chatting? Some people would whinge, others would complain, while most people may just remain silent, when they experience failures.  Why?  Failures seem to have cropped up in our lives so often, making us feel desperate, hurt,  despair and even depressed.

We have also found that from literature and history that people expressed their feelings and emotions as they suffered from failures, through writings, poets, and may be actions.

Failures in study, relationship, business, employment, career or job task, health, leadership are all too common for many of us.  We all have our failure stories to tell, but then we all hope to learn from our failures.  There have been plenty of failure stories about education.

If I ask: Have you failed, badly in your life?  How many of you would say more than 10%,  50% or 80%?  I reckon most of us might have failed at least 20% of the time.  Would we still congratulate ourselves when we fail?  Babies fail all the time, in the first attempt to crawl, stand, walk, and run.  I still remember how badly I injured myself by running along slopes, with painful wounds on hands and knees.  Was I deterred from running?  No. I learned each time to run with more cautions, by balancing my body, and slowing down my run.

Similarly, I have failed on many occasions, in study, tests, examinations etc.  I didn’t see them as failures in my whole life, as those were only small tests in my academic study that I had to endure, in order to learn, and grow in my life.

I remember on one occasion during my high school education that I received a very low mark in dictation.  Why?  It was because I couldn’t hear the reading out of the teacher properly, as he spoke at a low voice, and a too fast in pace.   I failed to follow his reading and missed out lots of words.  After a while, many of our classmates suggested the teacher to repeat the readings, and I greatly improve in my dictation.

I did take responsibility in my own learning too,  by improving my vocabulary, through reading through the dictionary, reading books and articles.

If we treat failures as part of our life, would we be to accept and embrace it?  Not too many people would like to talk about their failures of life story.  They may be embarrassing, too vulnerable, and risky, especially when such stories are shared openly and publicly.

There are some great life stories though, as told by our parents, relatives and friends, or colleagues, most often in our private and trusted cycles.  There are others who are willing to share them with the world.  Here is a wonderful life story by Clayton Christensen sharing his struggles in health.  He survives through his battling with the diseases.  It requires lots of courage to overcome those challenges of life.

Picture: Google image

failures images (3)

In my previous post, I shared:

Today we have taller buildings and wider highways, but shorter attention span and temperament, and narrower points of view.

We spend more, but enjoy less.

We have bigger houses, but smaller families.

We have more information and “knowledge”, but less “objective” judgement and tolerance.

We have more medicines, but less health.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.

We talk much,  but listen less.

We love only a little, but hate a lot.

We reached the Moon and came back, but found it too troublesome to cross our own street and meet our neighbours.

We have conquered the outer space, but not our inner space.

We have higher income, but less moral values.

We have increased public education on family values, but the divorce rate has also increased.

There are finer houses, but more broken homes.

We created more schools, but there are more failure drop-outs.

We showed our power and arrogance, but failed to acknowledge our own arrogance and ignorance.

We strived for liberty and freedom, but tried to convince others that they have to follow our orders.

We live our life by possessing and accumulating more materials and wealth, but we seem to have great difficulties in caring and loving our parents, partners, children and friends, or our colleagues and customers.

How would we benefit from a study of failures?  Failures in high performance computer system.

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