Failing Gracefully

The curve of life is never linear. There are moments of delight, sober days and gloomy evenings. Everyone faces their share of setbacks or failures, whatever we may choose to call them.

As the moments of success test our humility, failure tests our depth and patience on self. The period of failure has the capability to break the strongest or poison the most positive minds.

There is an idiom in programming called “graceful exit”. This idiom specifies a situation where the program detects a serious error condition and exits in graceful manner. This part of programming is supposed to prevent the spurious errors which otherwise may create anomalies due to abrupt disruption and corruption of data. 

If we see it, the whole logic of graceful exit in programming tells us few things.

• Nothing is complete, there are always chances of miss.

• It is better to arrange for collecting information about the unknown.

• The information can help us to correct and be ready for recurrence in better way.

In life also when the failure strikes, it is not always from the known zone, as a matter of fact it usually catches us off guard. Failures love to surprise us. And when it strikes, we panic, overreact and there is either melodrama or we throw ourselves in dark melancholy.

These moments clearly suck. We see negativity all around. There can never be anything that can take away the pain and stress it creates. However, the times of failure can help us to some extent. Hence, rather than losing on the precious time of our lives in full mourning we can choose to make few adjustments to not allow it to overpower us. Tweaking our response, a little bit can add to our learning from the failure.

As Viktor Frankl has said

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

In the times of failure, we can follow the below checklist to choose a better way for ourselves

1) A failure is a part of life and not your life. One mistake cannot personify us into failure. We turn into self-critic in time of failure. We start judging ourselves on very harsh scale. We should for sure analyze the reason of failure, but the analysis should direct towards the process followed rather than our personal attributes. In the end “to err is human”, and it is good to stay human.

2) It is good to inspect the process and find the reasons that could have caused the negative results. Learning about the wrong moves and making a correction point about same will help us to turn the failure into a lesson.

3) Remember the phrase “this too shall pass”, so the failure is temporary as is the success. When it is there, we must live it. There can be no escape from it. But we can choose how we live it.

4) Grow over it soon, clinging to the situation cannot change anything. Whatever has happened is bygone now. The tasks that define our future, should take our energy rather than the past.

5) Correct the process rather than quitting it altogether. Give yourself second chance or may be few chances to learn and improve.


Learner for life, from life

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