A pinch of failure….A dash of rejection
Updated: Jul 6
The need to succeed has become the most primary need for all of us. We all want to be winners in the game of life. Brilliant! A very positive approach to life but is it a very healthy one?
As a society we do not seem to handle failure or rejection well. We tend to look at it as an end of the world happening. A loss in a cricket match is worth burning the house of the players and a no from a girl is worth killing (literally or figuratively). Failure then is not just loosing but not getting what I want. There is no grey area in that definition.
We are not just content with our failures and refections. We need borrowed ones too. I met a mother whose 6 year old child had difficulty writing the alphabet. “I feel like a failure”, she said. “It’s my failure as a mother. I mean I couldn’t even teach her to write.”
Parents of teenagers who turn to alcohol, teachers of sports persons who lose a match , we as society have taught them that it is their failure too.
Let me not even start on a rejection. A lady with significant depressive features told me how she felt rejected by her kid. But your kid is 3 years old!!! Yes and she is closer to her grandmother than me. She wants to sleep with her and spends most of her time with her. That means she doesn’t like me.
The only failure that we carry as a society is making failure sound like a bad thing. Sure we talk about failure being a stepping stone to success but then we insist on taking the elevator.
I genuinely believe that we need failure and rejection as vaccine shots. Because they are preventive to a lot of misery and crime in future. Everyday the news is full of stories of crime, hate and gloom because of our inability to handle failure and rejection.
It starts at a very early age. A lot of parents that I meet complain about the indiscipline in their kids. Their argument ” I have never said no to him for anything but he still does not listen to me.” I wish they would say no to him once in a while. Your parents may spin around your world but the world doesn’t. What happens to such kids when they grow up? Would life be easy for them? Either they turn into bullies or are rejected by peers because they can’t adjust to group norms.
Another one said, “my kid wants to win all the time. If he is losing in a board game he topples over the table.” This was said with a hint of pride. He is going to achieve great heights. By toppling over tables? Or maybe people? Or maybe just himself ?
How many lives have been destroyed by this need to be the winner. It’s not important to win but it’s important to be the best. It is ok to pass with 36% as long as I am the highest in the class. So it is not about winning it is about others failing.
Someday I have to learn that the world does not behave the way I want it to behave. It is not possible to have my way all the time. I have to learn how to respect the views of others even if they are different from mine. Think how many wars we could have prevented if only we could have learnt this. But unfortunately we are brought up to believe that failure or rejection is not an option. I have to win at all costs.
Not just the parents and the society, even the movies we watch emphasise this belief. You don’t respect the girl’s rejection. You stalk her, disrespect her personal space, bully her till she says yes. If not just threaten her with killing yourself but don’t take no for an answer. And then we talk about reducing crime against women.
We deal with failure or rejection either by aggression or by the sour grape attitude. Something that I don’t get was not good enough. So either I malign the reputation or destroy it. It could be a job I didn’t get, a promotion which was denied or a girl who said no.
Everyone of us needs to fail or get rejected at some point of time in life. A person who has never faced either in life will have problems in healthy adjustment.
Once you have dealt with these important parts of growing up you will have a more rational approach to life. It makes you stronger as an individual, more determined as a professional and more considerate as a citizen.
Let your child lose, let a girl say no to you, let someone else get a promotion. Successful people are not people who always win, they are people who respect failure and take rejection in their stride.
I want to win I don’t have to….