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Don't let the sun go down on your Failure!

THE D-day has finally dawned and it has come with great expectations, hopes and aspirations. For some, it brings bouquets and for some gloom. Bouquets and laurels for those who have come out with flying colours and desolation and despair for those who have not been able to clear the exams or not done too well.

For a country (India) that places a premium on marks and academic achievement, failure is a scourge that just cannot be shaken off. Typically failure leave indelible marks on the psyche, shatter self-confldence and leave an individual scarred for life. For many, failure represents the end of a road.

But failure is not the end of the road. It is not the end of dreams and aspirations. In fact ZigZigler writes, "Failure is a detour, not a dead-end street." For many people, the fear of failing again is far greater than failure itself. The fear of failure serves to immobilise people to such an extent that they are reluctant to try. To overcome the fear of failure and its paralysing effects, you must recognise and accept that failure to achieve does not make you a failure.'

Failure can be the turning point...a Seven Point Plan:
The first step should be to make up your mind to reverse failure. This is the stumbling block and requires courage and gumption! Our instinct is to run away instead of confronting failure face to face!

Analyse the cause of failure

To reverse failure, one needs to trace the aetiology of the failure. Once that is established, a remedy can be sought. For example, you were not able to finish the papers on time or you needed to have worked harder for maths.

Deal with the emotional baggage of failure

Failure comes with huge emotional and psychological ramifications. You start degrading your self- worth followed by negative statements like "I am a loser", I can never do it." Remember if you keep telling yourself that you are a failure, it may turn out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Don't forget that failure is an event, not a person! Learn to segregate the two.

Look for alternatives

Look for alternatives. Check out alternative dates for the exam and decide to reappear for them. Also, look out for alternative courses that can be done during the time that you are reapplying for the exam.

Change your attitude
Changing your perspective is most essential. First and foremost, STOP seeing your self as a failure. You need to stop seeing yourself as a failure so others will not! Instead of seeing the glass half empty see it as half full.


Draw up a plan for spending your time; allotting time for studying, leisure activities and socialising. Having a concrete plan will give you a feeling of being in control. Allot extra time for grey areas, be it time management, study skills, concentration problems or problems regarding particular subjects. Discipline is the key and implementing the plan is entirely a question of self-motivation.

Seek professional help
If you feel you cannot cope and handle you psychological or the scholastic aspects of your problems, don't be afraid to seek professional help from counsellors, teachers and guides.

For those who have done well and are waiting for admissions to professional courses, it is a time of reckoning. With the number of students outweighing the number of seats and educational institutes, and a sizeable number of students not having a seat, one needs to have an alternative career plan. A plan 'B' if Plan 'A' does not work out. Plan A could run into rough weather for a variety of reasons. So, one needs to be ready for another career option. The alternative career plan
is a career option that is very dose to your chosen field and matches your aptitudes, interests and personality.

In summary, sometimes we are too hard on ourselves, expecting too much, and sometimes too easy, not expecting or trying to do our best. You may be too uptight about achieving your dreams; you might not be uptight enough to achieve them. Ideally, I suppose, one would be inspired by his/her ambitions and visions of the future, but down-to-earth enough to accept (for the moment) whatever he/she actually accomplishes. All of us need to ask, "How can I do better?" It reminds you that you are in control and don't have to do poorly.

Be Encouraged!

>> Letter # 21 (8.6.2003).

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