Success is Not Always Controllable So Adopt a Healthy Attitude Towards Failure
By Anubhav Srivastava ( Register for his Workshop – Build Super Confidence For Super Success!)
Let me begin with a summary of what this is article is all about. I have come to believe that you are completely in control of your actions but not always the results of those actions. You are completely in control of attempts to influence your fate, but not always the consequences of those attempts. Don’t worry, this article is not meant as a de-motivator, if anything my aim is to encourage you to adopt a more healthy attitude towards success and failure.
A child in a very poor family in a poor country or in a war torn zone will probably just be trying to survive in his day to day life than get the opportunity to acquire the skills necessary to get ahead. Does it mean the child has no chance to get ahead? Of course not. With sheer determination, he can influence his actions to push himself out of the environment and sometimes he may succeed. But the odds are much much lower and the obstacles much greater. Also, even to succeed this way depends on some uncontrollable parameters (right timing, right opportunity, meeting people who appreciate your hard work and push you up, not push you down, not being hit by constant tragedies etc.) apart from controllable things such as determination, adaptability and hard work. Frankly speaking anybody who believes that chance plays absolutely no role is either in denial or delusional.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting or asking you to believe that everything in life is determined through chance. That is not true either and if you start believing that everything in life is all about chance, all you will end up doing is making excuses and being complacent. The probability of increasing chances of getting what you want in life is COMPLETELY dependent on your actions. If you only depend on luck, luck will never favour you. But what I have seen is that barring a few, most of those who succeed do not wish to admit that good fortune had even a small role to play in their success and those who didn’t want to place the entire blame on bad fortune. The truth is somewhere in between. Without any luck, you won’t get results, but without intelligent effort, you probably won’t get lucky.
So the point of my article is to not encourage people to resign to their fate. Far from it. I encourage everyone to fight for what you really want because your actions will play a significant role in determining it. If you are the eternal optimist who is constantly learning from their mistakes without judging themselves as a person, go ahead and believe whatever you want to believe. If your self worth doesn’t get affected by failures and you don’t judge others, the belief that your fate is absolutely under your control is a healthy one. It will give you the courage to keep pushing on, it will make you want to try new things to make your idea work. Sometimes this belief will eventually pay off and you will get what you want.
The problem comes when people start equating their self worth or the worth of others based on what they were able or unable to achieve. The reality is that as humans most of us have a tendency to judge ourselves and others based on their achievements or possessions. If you start thinking that “hey Person A got what he wanted so easy and I didn’t despite trying everything, that must mean that he a is brilliant genius doing everything right and I must suck”, you will set yourself up for failure everywhere. After all, if I am responsible for my fate, if I don’t get something, it must be totally my fault right? Multiply that by scores of failures that life will almost always give you and the judgmental personalities most of us have and you get a totally crushed self esteem. And a crushed self esteem guarantees eternal failure anyway.
First of all, how do you know that Person A got what he wanted through his own actions and that too by playing the game fairly? He could have connections, he could have used questionable methods you may not be comfortable using, or he could have simply been in the right place at the right time and it just landed in his lap. I am not judgmental about any of these things but their role is undeniable. At the same time it is also possible that maybe he was playing to his strengths but maybe if he applied the same thing to another field that is your strength, it would be you who beat him. The point is we do not know!
I have also noticed that many people are notoriously reluctant to share the complete picture of what really made them get what they achieved. They just want to share the portions that make them look good, but rarely the complete picture of what happened. As a result, a lot of times you get really misguided advice from people. They might not share the reality because the reality makes them look bad and shows the fact that there were thousands of other factors at work (including getting the lucky breaks among other things) other than what they tell you.
So what are you going to get when you try to achieve the same goal with advice that is only half truth? Most probably you will fail, and then you will think there is something wrong with you because it worked for them but not you. At that time if you pathologically believe you are responsible for it and that it worked for them but not you because you are not good enough, you can clearly see how easy it is spiral into depression. Again, don’t get me wrong, I am all for critically analyzing your mistakes in order to learn from something and succeed the next time, but critical analysis is done with a sense of objectivity and facts, not subjectivity and opinions. Most of us get so emotionally attached to the result that we start finding faults in ourselves, not in our methods or other uncontrollable factors.
Here is what I want you to do. If you dream big and want to work hard to achieve it, go for it. If you follow the principles mentioned in my movie Carve Your Destiny, (Visit the following url to watch it http://youtube.com/watch?v=PgVrCtOhqjo ) almost automatically your probability of achieving what you wanted to achieve will be much higher. Combine that with some other street smart strategies and you will have ensured that you are doing most of the things your control. But do keep in mind that sometimes the fault may not lie with you or your methods but uncontrollable factors such as the actions of others or random events that cannot be predicted.
This makes me come back to my original statement. You are responsible for your actions, but not always the result of that action. You have the power to make attempts to influence your fate but not always in control of what eventually happens. If you made mistakes on your part, learn from them, but stop blaming yourself for the mistakes you never made. Work hard and work smart, but don’t beat yourself up if you do not get the results despite your best efforts. Move on to something else. As long as you know your heart that you did absolutely everything under your control you are someone worthy of admiration. As Nassim Nicholas Taleb says, “Heroes are heroes because they are heroic in behavior, not because they won or lost.”
About the Author
The writer of this article, Anubhav Srivastava is an author, motivational speaker and the director of Carve Your Destiny, a first of its kind inspirational documentary featuring some of the most famous personalities from diverse fields, who teach the viewers how they too can make all of their dreams come true. The movie itself has been seen on Youtube by close to 600,000 people. Anubhav has also been featured in numerous International and India Media outlets such as BBC , The Times of India, Hindustan Times, Rediff.com, Leicester Mercury and many others.
Email Anubhav Srivastava for coaching, consulting or motivational speaking queries at email@example.com. Facebook Profile: http://facebook.com/anubhav981
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