What exactly is ‘failure’? Most dictionaries define failure as the lack of success. We define success. It is a goal which we wish to achieve. It could be getting a centum in the math exam or following a strict diet. So, when we do not achieve these self-defined goals, we say that we have failed in our task.
Let us take the examples of two students ‘A’ and ‘B’. Both are appearing for the same exam with different aims and different levels of preparation.
Lets say that ‘B’ is aiming to pass. He has studied 40 percent of the syllabus and has practiced all possible types of questions related to that portion to make sure that he doesn’t face a new problem related to that 40 percent of the syllabus in the exam. In the end he scores 40, the number required to pass. ‘A’ believes that he has studied everything and is aiming for a perfect score. ‘A’ has practiced like ‘B’ covering almost the entire syllabus but he is not as comfortable with one chapter which leads to the loss of 3 marks. So although ‘A’ might take solace from being the topper, he has failed in his goal which was to score 100, while B has succeeded in achieving his goal of passing.
Clearly, ‘B’ has made sure that he would not fail while ‘A’ had jeopardized his chances of getting a perfect score by not preparing as hard on one chapter as he did for the others.
Before setting out to achieve our goals we often believe that we have met the prerequisite conditions to achieve it but may later end up failing. This is because those prerequisite conditions are set by us. Have we really included the solutions to all possible difficulties in it like the student ‘B’? If we haven’t done so we mostly end up ‘ failing’.( I say ‘mostly’ because you never know when lady luck can hit you )
So if we have met all those prerequisite conditions where is the question of failure? If we make every single adjustment and be prepared for all the difficulties which may arise during our quest to achieve that goal, we will never fail. But if we have not met those prerequisite conditions, then is it fair to expect to succeed? Shouldn’t the student ‘A’ be expecting to score 97 instead of 100?
What I’m trying to say is that ‘Failure’ is a type of perception. It arises when there is a mismatch between our definition of success and our level of preparation. For when we have not prepared ourselves entirely, we may not succeed as we haven’t achieved the goal set by us, but we do achieve something which is proportional to our level of preparation. If the student ‘A’ had aims of scoring 97, he would have succeeded as his definition of success and his level of preparation would have matched.
So when a person believes that he has ‘failed’, it actually means that he has succeeded with some other definition of success and not the one he wished for.
(P.S- This is a very complex philosophical post where I have tried my best to express my belief. You may not understand this post or disagree with me. In any case, please do leave a comment. )