When we don’t meet our expectations or the targets we set to achieve; we are often told to take solace in the fact that failures are a stepping stone for success. We are reminded to introspect ourselves and find out where we went wrong so that we would not repeat the same mistakes again.
However, our successes are always met with adulation and praise and we are made to feel that we have done everything right. As a result, we often fail to introspect and ignore the role of chance that might have played a part in our success. Rarely do people ask us to introspect when we surpass their expectations.
Consider India’s recent Champions trophy triumph. We only talk about how well India played in the tournament and how they deserved to win the cup. But it was actually a couple of minutes of English self destruction in the final that gifted India the cup. Of course, they did play well to get to the final but on another day India could have been on the losing side and we would immediately find a host of reasons for their loss. But for us a victory overshadows all the small mistakes which (un)fortunately did not have to play a major role.
The major reason why we dont ask others to introspect in their moment of glory is that we are bothered only about the final result and not the process leading to that outcome. We dont ask a kid who gets a perfect score on his class test, if he had skipped certain portions but was lucky not to see them on his test paper. A full score means he is a prodigy: No further questions please.
Another reason is that we are afraid to ask someone to take some time to think about his success. We feel that it would roughly translate into something like “Sorry pal, you dont deserve this. You were very lucky” which project us as a jealous person.
In the end, it is upon us to ensure that we don’t overestimate our capabilities or underestimate the role of chance since it is a failure to introspect after a success which often causes our next defeat