Published on Wednesday, 18 June 2014 00:00
Nothing just happens! Everything happens because something was set into motion that caused it to happen. The law of cause and effect not only applies to success, but equally applies to failure.
It is a widely agreed notion that hard work and determination begets success and prosperity. However, would you be as fast as to agree with me if I said that failure required immense dedication too?
It is a well-known fact that people who have made it for themselves in life have, ipso facto, worked very hard and done something special or extraordinary to get them to that high pedestal. However when it comes to someone failing, people will automatically assume that it is because that person in question did not do anything, and simply happened to find himself in that situation. Failure is popularly accepted as default circumstances in life, and not only is that belief wrong, it is also detrimental to you achieving your goals.
In actual fact, failure is also a result of hardwork and determination. Someone who failed would have done something special or extraordinary too to land himself in that situation. Yes, just like success, failure is something that requires effort. Like people who have managed to become successful after much persistence, others have also worked very hard at becoming and remaining failures.
It takes effort to achieve success; you will have to dream of success, envision yourself a success, plan out a path to success, work and act on your carefully thought-out plans every day, overcome obstacles and hurdles along the way, keep yourself motivated and driven when the going gets rough in the face of temporary defeat, and open your arms to opportunities.
Equivalently, it takes effort to become and remain a failure; you will have to dream of failure, envision yourself a failure, not plan, avoid working and acting on anything worthwhile every day, give in at the first sign of temporary defeat, and turn your head from opportunities. You might argue and say that no one in the right mind dreams of failure, maybe they might not know they are doing it, but they are doing it subconsciously.
So it could be said that people who have been deemed as failures are paradoxically, very successful people. The problem with them is that they are successful at the wrong things; they are successful at failing. They are successful at being lazy, complacent, passive, apathetic, unimaginative, defeated, and reluctant to take charge of their lives.
The Chinese has a saying; 守株待兔 (Shǒu Zhū Dài Tù). It is a 4-word idiom that literally means to wait by a tree stump for a rabbit. It is used to describe someone who does not work for something but instead just sits around and waits for something to fall into his lap. The idiom originated from a story about a farmer who witnessed a rabbit running headlong into a tree stump and dying from the impact. This gave him the idea of waiting near the tree stump for more rabbits to kill themselves that way, so that he would be able to collect the rabbits and he would not have to work any longer to feed himself. The farmer waited for a long time but such an event did not occur again. In the end he was ridiculed by everyone because it was such a ridiculous idea that it would never have worked. In another version of the story, the farmer waited so long that his crops withered due to neglect and the farmer eventually starved to death.
The story just goes to show that the farmer did indeed put in effort into failing. When he decided to sit down and wait around for another rabbit to bump its head into the tree stump, he was actually dedicating his time and being persistent about it, to the point of starving to death! All his efforts went to naught as it was invested in failing, if he spent the same amount of effort on harvesting his crops, he would have yielded success.
Nothing just happens. Success has to be striven for. Similarly, failure has to be worked at. It would seem that it takes just as much effort to succeed as to fail. What determines whether you succeed or fail is where that effort is directed or applied. You should ask yourself what do you desire, what are you working towards, and what are you planning for? As the saying goes, “failing to plan is planning for failure”.
The most important question to ask yourself is what do you want to be? A success or a failure? Do you want to succeed in success or succeed in failing? If you are really set on achieving your dreams and goals, go about doing so correctly. Action is what will bring your dreams to reality. Nothing just happens. You have to make it happen.