Friday, February 24, 2012

How to Cope with Failures

Today's presentation was interesting. I know many of you will feel that it was more preaching type- may be you are true, but life is like that only. It is very important in life to have an inner balance. It is something that makes people happy. While success breeds arrogance, failure also brings frustration. As we grow up as an individual, we have to face both. But how do we handle the changes that come due to adverse changes in life. Adverse changes in life can come from personal, professional and ethical failures in life. They are bound to come. They have come in everybody's life. But how are you ready for handling these changes? It is one thing to say- I will handle when it comes, but it is better to be proactive and mentally be ready to face these challenges in life. Now you will finish this course and you ahve some carry forwards- soma baggage that you brought while you came here and some has been added up during the program... Life should not look like something which has an overdose of baggage and you look like someone knelt down carrying this excess baggage. You should have a plan- to handle the failures and changes in life that come due to these failures. What lessons have guided you for this? What instances have you got which shows how you have handled them in the past. Many of us would like to learn- Personally I will like to learn from you- how you have handled these issues- may be better than me? How? Once you start your jounrey as an entrepreneur, these challenges are going to be more? How do you look at these things in the perspective of your life?? How- share your thoughts.


  1. Failures are a part of life and everyone faces them, I try not to make them the entire life and think that I can't get over it. There are good days and bad days, what I have learnt from failures is that there is no point in ever blaming others or the situation for it, it is best to understand that the effort and the result are both mine and mine alone. This makes me stronger since I know that I am capable of doing things and not dependent on others. The next thing while facing failure is not to be overwhelmed by it, therefore, I try to look at the situation objectively, try to tell the story of my failure to myself as if I am narrating a second person's story. This way the pain is lesser and the objectivity more. Finally, if the pain or loss is unbearable I try to stay with it for a while, soon it passes away as the chores of life take over.

    1. Its very difficult to find out whose comment is this, please put your name

  2. I really respect the fact that failure is a part of life and we have to take failures as stepping stone to success. But what intrigues me is that till what extent we can implement this in our life. It sounds good while reading some self-help books or listening to some motivational speeches but when it comes to reality most of people fail to do so. Today we listen and when it comes to implanting the theory we fail to do so. We all put motivational lines in our facebook page or even as desktop wallpapers but we fail to do so in practice. Why? What is the reason?
    Is it because we live in a society where failures are not encouraged or is it our inner fear?
    Any thoughts??

    1. Please put your name. If this is from Raghu, then ignore

    2. it is strange how we get preachy while things dont go our way ... quite frankly i look at the scriptures and spirituality from a different perspective...a man is capable of thinking on his feet as long he is not caught by surprise or is captivated in shock.. this being the condition we must be in a situation where everything however remote must seem a possibility ... I know of a few people who view the bhagvat geeta as an encyclopedia of possible situations in life that provides some pointers on how to possibly deal with it ... i totally agree with that view...I personally have questioned myself if I was that bad as the situation was showing me to be and took it as a point to prove it to myself that I am better than that ... but these challenges have been academically or professionally ... i dont know how i will react to a personal or ethical dilemma .. maybe i will turn to the scriptures to find solace...

      Siddharth Radhakrishnan FT12259

  3. For me every day is a new beginning. Failures are an important phase in life to learn where you went wrong and how you can improve on it. And as they say, failures are indeed the stepping stone to success. I would like to quote Michael Jordan here...

    'I’ve missed more than nine thousand shots in my career. I’ve lost almost three hundred games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed'

  4. Failure is not in failing... It is in Not Trying (again) b'coz of fear of failing (again)....

    The below video is apt here:

    My way to handle failure is: Forget ur failures fast but not the learnings out of those...

  5. The question posted by Raghu could lead us to an interesting discussion here. What changes when it comes to implement the theories and the philosophies in our daily life? We often say 'It is nice to listen to, good to speak about such motivational thoughts but it is not practical', but is it so? Have these thoughts never been put into implementation by us. Look around us, all great things come out of failures. We learnt walking after falling so many times, no one amongst us would have driven a bike without banging it atleast once, most of us would have mistaken the first few times in solving Maths problems. What does these all tell???

    We are master in something today only because we have come out of failure. But whenever we listen to some good motivational speech we try to relate it to something big. None of us think about the small and smaller things that have in their base those thoughts and ideas. So I leave this discussion open again, what happens when it comes to implementation of these thoughts towards attaining something big in life?

  6. I believe when you fall flat on your face there is only one way to go that’s...up!! Most of us face setbacks in our lives... sometimes personal and sometimes professional. For me the mantra that gets me through most of these dreadful times is that "this too shall pass”. I believe the first way to copying with failure is to accept situation and not fall prey to the “Why Me!” victim syndrome. It’s great if one can accept the reality, this is life..problems are bound to come. Most people look for an anchor during these situations. It maybe your family, God, friends etc. I'm not an atheist but I have experienced that nothing works for you more than your faith and belief in yourself that you can get through this bad phase....We read ultra- glorified case studies but don't you think it all boils down to the fact that during a crisis when everybody was running for cover... our case studies' protagonist kept a cool head and faith and overcome the upheavals that were presented to them. I don’t believe in hero-worship, I believe that this power lies in all of us. As for the motivational scriptures and texts, I think all of them teach us to have faith and to know the power of the human mind. The Bible says “We live by faith not by sight”. I’m a firm believer in the power of faith and positive thinking. People overcome serious illnesses by just holding on and keeping the faith. I’m a die-hard optimist and believe that there is light after every dark tunnel.
    Javedika Sawhney

  7. When I was five, my lifes biggest change was to move from the house I was born to the house my parents built. leaving my childhood friends seemed dreadful. When I was ten, returning to a home alone was my lifes biggest challenge, as both my parents were working lunch, dinner and most of the family doings were alone to me. When I was 17. from an art lover to a maths student was my lifes biggest fear, maths seemed dreadful in front of a lyrical language. when I was 20, my first job brought the biggest change in my life, working in the madness of bombay was the biggest challenge. when 23, relationships circumvented every aspect of emotions, fear was just one. With time I have realized, that change is the only constant thing. whats dynamic is our perception towards change and that is what defines our ability to handle it. What seemed surmounting at the age of 4 was as fearsome as what was at the age of 23 but what gives one strength to be fearless is the faith in ones own self. A silent belief that no power is stronger than ones inner power and no emotion is deeper than conviction has always helped me cope better.

    Debashree Chatterjee

  8. In my opinion, the only way to deal with failure is to learn from it and move on.
    Failure can either break us or make us. Those broken by failure are haunted by unpleasant memories. It is also a cage that traps the mind, preventing it to entertain possibilities of freedom and success. They are convinced that they cannot do it; therefore, they will not try. But, in fact Failures should be taken as stepping stone to success. One fails when one stop trying and give up.
    Generally, people have a narrow and negative understanding of the meaning of failure, and therefore tend to fide from it, a reflex that can block valuable learning. What may seem to be a failure can actually lead to new opportunities, especially if the knowledge acquired from the failed projects can be exploited. Right learning questions can serve as a starting point for the assimilation of learning.

  9. In my view, whenever you begin anything start like you have nothing to lose. Become zero while taking decision. Such attitude will take off the burden to succeed and allow you inner self to be fearless while taking any decision. Once your burden free and fearless, trust your inner self, it will surely come up with extraordinary decision and solutions. Think that this is not the last decision of your life and if it goes wrong then also future still belongs to you. Once you have taken decision and implemented it, just forget about it, because now nothing is in your control, you have taken your best shot. Relax and see how the game goes. If you are in a mindset of nothing to lose you won’t fear defeat and that is the key to success or to handle failure successfully.
    I still remember, while preparing for any competition my principal used to tell us “Guys, it’s now or never..!”. But just before the few hours of the competition she used to say “Guys, relax, there is always next time...!”
    In my view, things such as communicating with inner self or spirituality are part of experiential learning. It can’t be taught, because it is easy to give information, it is difficult to give knowledge but it is impossible to give wisdom to someone. Wisdom comes from experience and experience comes from experiment. Do as many as experiment in life…!!!

    Chintan Gandhi

  10. Three years in Professional , I hardly had any Professional failures to learn from. But had some serious trouble in personal life. It just so happened that I had to go through all of a sudden after a smooth protected happy 20 years. Life turned upside down and I had no clue wat happened.
    As mentioned in the book, I chose not to accept the change and created my own reality and lived in it. Not accepting the change invited more trouble. Not sharing my problems with anyone was my way of keeping safe. It just made thing worse.
    It took me two years of depression to actually seek help. A Doctor who treated me for depression helped understand something. Accepting change, Move forward. Exactly what s in this Book.

    Thanks Neale Donald Walsch & Group4. You made me relive those times of recovery and also understand that this applies to professional & Ehical failures as well.


  11. Change is the only thing that i have been witnessing since i passed out my 12th. Not only did i have to leave my home town but had to stay with my brother in a small house that too in Mumbai. Four years was a long long time. Not only did i finish my B.E in that period but learned a lot of other things too. Taking care of the whole house was a very big responsibility that was given to me. This change turning from a carefree child to a responsible one taking care of all the household chores, bank work, bills, cooking and many other things. This drastic change was difficult to digest when you are in a new city and have to study loads. Difficulty came one by one but i could surpass because i had one point cleared - May what come - ADAPT. This was so helpful. I took all the changes positively that came into my life. Learnt a lot with every change. This made me a strong person now having the capability to do a lot of wonders. Then came another change. I started working in Pune, again it got different set of complexities that were also tackled beautifully as i knew one thing - Changes are constant and they are bound to come. I now feel so strong because I'm prepared for these things always. It never takes me by surprise but always gives me strength to adapt to the changes and excel in it. This attitude that i have built over the years have helped me a lot during this 1 year and will always help me in the organization that I'm going to work in.So instead of saying "Why me" let's say "Try me" :)

    Alfiya Aziz

  12. My take on failures - what doesn't work out well the first time goes on to actually improve things the next time. From a designer's point of view, anything that works out right first time might be good, but there might be scope for improvement, which gets suppressed if things work out fine the very first time. As far as personal failures go- as some of the comments above point out, you learn something new everytime you fail. Learn whatever there is to learn from the failure and move on with your life.

    Satyaki - FT12252

  13. Change is inevitable - and i think the best way to deal with it is to first accept this fact, be flexible and confident to deal with it and learn to move on. Most changes in our lives happen for good - so you got to look at the positives and try and learn out of them to better prepare yourselves for the future.

    A person who is willing to accept the change is one who can adapt to it. A recent experience for me was to relocate back to my home in Noida after staying out for 7 years. Though i found it difficult in the beginning to adjust to the change in lifestyle and felt frustrated, I gradually stared finding it much more comfortable (with home cooked food, comfortable beds, air conditioners, etc) and started enjoying it.

    Personally speaking, life would get boring if there are no changes. After all, why do we need a break from our professional life - for a change!

    Vanshaj Dhall (FT12371)

  14. If we look back at our life, all the major so called "life lessons" have come at the cost of our ability to be successful at everything we do. What we should keep in mind is that doing something for the first time is known as a learning experience for a reason. The simplest way to look at this is to remember the time when we learnt how to ride a bike. We knew that we didn't know how to balance ourselves on two wheels and that we would fall, but we also knew that there was no other way to learn how to do it. We just keep the idea of success in our mind and keep trying. While going through life, the stakes will change from bruises and scraped knees and elbows to our way of life as we know it, but if we keep the idea of success in our mind, we are bound to succeed.

    Siddharth Goyal

  15. Failure is an inevitable part of life, if you don't fail you have lost a great opportunity to learn. An interesting point came across when i sat with Virtusa for my interview as part of the college placements. They said that they look for individuals who have failed as entrepreneurs, reason being that they believe that people have to learn to take risks, as otherwise your growth is stunted and very average.

    I too have had failures in my life, personally and professionally and those are experiences that probably teach you the most you ever can. They have made me strong and added more clarity in to my life about my objectives and my expectations from myself. At the least they teach you what you should not do and that ideally wold lead you to doing the right thing the next time. Life is about learning and there can be no better teacher than failure. There is a caveat here although, your wrongs and your rights got to average out in life, the wrongs better not out-number the rights!!

  16. In today’s professional world, it is observed that companies maintain a separate code of conduct for employees when it comes to business dealing and personal ethos. Even so, I strongly believe that human aspects and professional ethics in a business are reflection of an individual’s belief and the values that are inculcated in him courtesy to his cultural upbringing. I personally do not fear the possibility of failure but rather see each experience as an opportunity to learn. The difficult decision to switch domains, from a techie to an NGO consultant, was not monetary driven but motored by a strong urge to contribute in ways that can club my personal aspirations with my employer’s mission.
    At Infosys, I worked in a development project on Mainframes for CVS. I was lucky to have been selected as a member of the coveted “Voice of Youth” forum out of many thousand aspirants. The forum focuses on developing young Infosys employee as future leaders. I was also given the responsibility as SPOC, single point of contact for the Green connect wing of Infosys Mangalore. Green connect is the environmental sustainability unit, fostering eco-friendly practices. My responsibility included coordinating activities with members from various development centers spread across the globe and organize events to sensitize employees to address environmental commitments. This gave me a chance to further understand the corporate world and realize that most business decisions are based on financial logics and a fine balance is required to create a healthy environment for a sustainable growth of the organization. This at times needed harsh measures, measures that created great distrust amongst the employees.
    Recently, as Infosys faced the toughest challenge concerning its HR policies, I represented Mangalore as the lead of VOY in brainstorming and rolling out strategic initiatives by interacting extensively with Infosys Senior Management. We conciliated the initial distrust amongst the employees and discovered solutions for a process improvement in the structural and management philosophies of the organization.
    I have been appreciated for my equanimous ethics, which I believe is not subject to perceptions and opinions of other people. It ought to have an impregnable foundation to help it stand the trials of time as I seek to explore the profundities of my creative cave. Maintaining integrity and infusing values in people around me with my own example will be a conscious policy that I plan to practice

    - Shashwat Rai

  17. Failing at something can be extremely frustrating for people, like me, who are low on patience. I used to sulk for days, not talk to anyone, basically shut myself off from this world till I could face up to my actions. Not the best way to deal with a situation but I just couldn't seem to help myself. And then I met this friend of mine. She had the most amazing philosophy in life. She asked me what was my worst case scenario and whatever it was just be prepared for that. Everything else is a bonus.

    Some people might say it is a pessimist way of looking at life but really it is not. It is like having a parachute with you when you jump out of the plane. I don't know how well it is suited for everyone but it has helped me a lot in making peace with my life and the changes that it brings alone everyday.

    Akriti Anand FT12407

  18. My thoughts on failure are most probably shaped by two things. One is a realisation that everything we have in life is relative. Comparisons inevitably take place on money matters, looks, popularity, friends & relatives etc. The results of this comparison are then paired with feelings of joy and sorrow depending on whether we have more or less than the other. Rarely is the output of comparison paired with thanks to the powers that be in case we end up on the higher side or a sense of positive targeting / goal setting to say 'this is where I want to be / who I want to become like' when we are found lacking in comparison. Once I realised this, it became easier for me to have a more positive outlook towards life and the resources/faculties I already possess and helped reduce the fear of failure a notch.
    The second thing probably even more philosophical than above. I'd probably feel more of a failure if I didn't even make the attempt at a venture than if I were to attempt and failed. Making the attempt closes the question of success or failure (and also teaches valuable lessons along the way). NOT making the attempt always leave open a question of "What if I had gone ahead with it?". Moreover, not making the attempt doesn't even leave me with even an iota of increase in my knowledge and experience.
    This does not completely answer the question on how I would deal with failure but definitely does bring me closer to the answer. Of course, i definitely will feel bad in a case of failure but the experience i've had leading up to the above thoughts/realisations will hopefully help me bounce right back.

    Indraneel Kulkarni

  19. Failure breeds success.Success may again breed failures in the future .Who knows, but that shouldn't stop one from going forward.This blog brought a question in my mind. The blog says we should have a strategy to fight failure. I never believed in that.
    Failure basically comes from 2 cases:
    1.The first one is inner failure.This breeds from arrogance.Or when you feel too big to do small things.Not knowing that we will be hit in the end cause of this.
    2.The second type of failure is which is beyond our circumstances,something that comes out cause of environmental factors.

    For the first kind of failure the max we can do is to get hit.Because we become so big in our arrogance that only a hit can bring us back.

    For the second factor staying calm is the only thing I can tell.

    I had a failure of the second kind quite recently.
    When I was in Satyam most of us were kind of terminated from our jobs because of the whole Satyam fiasco.
    There were 2 options in front of me.First one being to cry and second one to fight.
    I chose the second one happily.I got my highest cat score and hence we all study here together.
    Failure is the elixir to success.
    And yeah Swami Vivekananda says- Failure is the same as success.
    Its just a different flavor- This I said:)


  20. Lost wanderer or whomoever is the blog moderator.Kindly close the word verification thing for comments.It is not needed


  21. I feel we are an outcome of the people we meet and the experiences we go through in life. Some good experiences and some bad ones. Failure is as inevitable in a person’s life as is death in my opinion. So one can live one’s life in fear of it thereby not really living or take on life and failure head on.

    The most important thing however is to learn from ones failures and mistakes so as to only rise to be stronger and better able to handle the same situation should it arise in the future.

    I feel Rudyard Kipling in his poem IF rightly said "If you can meet with Triumph (read as success) and Disaster (read as failure) and treat those two impostors just the same’’ you will be alright.

    Clichéd as it may sound what has worked best for me is introspection in terms of sitting and figuring out if a particular thing could have been done a little better or differently to have derived a better outcome. Has worked for me in the past and hopefully will continue to.

    Simontika Bose
    FT 12260

  22. Well for me, to be true, I have not really failed miserable in anything. That is the reason I still fear failure. I have failed in my plans, in my ideas, in my executions but never failed miserably. So I still fear and not very successful.
    To my Knowledge, failures are inevitable. Either you take very calculated risk and avoid huge failures or dare to take big risks. The rewards are again proportional. Not that with huge failure come huge success, but more the appetite for risk more the probability to succeed.
    For what ever failure I have seen, one major thing that has worked for me is analysis of failure. I have always analyzed and discussed with my mentors and well wishers about my failures and taken advice from them. That might be one of the reason that I have never failed miserably. The second and very important part is to accept the failure. If you do not accept and make it up reasoning yourself that this is common and standard et all, you lose an opportunity to learn and leap forward.

    Abhishek Palo

  23. Fear of failure, in my opinion is the toughest barrier in the journey to success! I do fear the failure I have been working on it and gradually improving.
    Everyone knows that no one is perfect and there's hardly anyone who has never ever failed in his enedevours, still this logical thinking goes only till the moment one actually tries his hands onto something or leaps into some venture.
    Pratisha in her presentation, very well said that there are a few bad things which we think can never happen to us, but at the back of mind we are aware of the dangers and there arises fear of failure. So rarely, when it's actually happening to us, that 'back of the min devil' comes haunting and shatters the confidence.
    This is very detrimental to success as the same thing done at different levels of confidence Ceteris Paribus (everything else being constant) give dramatically different results. Hence fear of failure, leading to loss of confidence is the most important thing to be avoided in any task / venture / journey!
    Overcoming the failure can be best done by changing your definition of failure. Small little (or even big) mistakes is not the end of world ... the world ends when you quit! So, avoiding the mistakes, changing the attitude of looking towards mistakes and learning from them to avoid repeating are the key steps to overcome failure!
    SRJ -- Saurabh Ravindra Joshi (FT12160)

  24. In life, failures are inevitable! So is change. In fact, it is good to fail sometimes. Only then do try hard. Only then do you learn. And only then, the success tastes sweet! Failures should be seen as a part of life. We tend to judge ourselves and feel weighed down by the social pressures and expectations. We also tend to avoid change. But without these, life would be very boring. Easier said than done? Yes it certainly is. That is why it is important to have faith. Faith in? It is different for different people. While some believe in the Almighty, some believe in good karma, some believe in themselves,... This belief/faith helps people go on, to keep trying, to not give up!
    I believe that everything in life (good or bad) happens for a reason and that something good will come out of every adverse situation as well. That helps me take failure in my stride or accept drastic changes in life. Though there have been instances when the outcome has been below expectations, nothing so drastic has occured for me to term it as failure. I consider myself lucky in that sense. I believe I will be able to handle possible future failures in an entreprenurial venture if I remember to have faith...
    - Ankita Jain