I’ve been told failure isn’t the end. It should be a stepping stone one use to reach success. No matter how many times I’ve heard this, it’s hard for me anytime I fail. I’ve not seen anyone smiling after they’ve failed at something. It’s difficult not to feel let down when you fail. At some point it feels the universe is conspiring against you. When you fail the second time at the same thing after giving it your all, you have the feeling you have to give up. You think the world isn’t going to give you space to thrive on this one thing. It’s an uphill task trying to find positives in failure.
I have failed at these…
#1. I wasn’t a clever student back when I was in the secondary school. Mathematics was everything I wished I could have nothing to do with but it was the one most single thing my parent always judged me on. I tried. On some occasions, I could pick no other book but maths book. I will learn and put in the last energy within me but I still will fail.
I was told I wasn’t learning it right. I was told I wasn’t practicing a lot. But to me, I was giving my best. But I always failed anyway. I didn’t give up till my final exams. I learned maths like it is all I needed to have a secured future. My final exams results came. I managed to fail at maths. What did I have to give to have thrived?
#2. I couldn’t go to university after secondary school because I failed math. You can shine in everything but where your light goes dim, that’s what you’ll be judged on. My light went dim on maths. They needed a light on maths before I could be offered admission. For four consecutive years, I tried getting admission. And for four consecutive years, I was told my maths wasn’t good enough. I failed to get admission to the university. I finally gave up on university dreams.
#3. After I’d completed Polytechnic and I’d finished doing my National Service, I had to find a job that will at least pay me just enough to survive. I wrote many job applications and none of it was successful. I had an idea. I wrote a proposal to a hospital close to where I live. I wanted to manage their estate for them. I’d gone to school to learn Estate management.
The CEO called me and we had a lengthy discussions about the proposal. He was convinced. At a point he said; “that’s a very good idea. I wonder why I haven’t thought about it all this while.” A week later, he called to tell me they couldn’t accept my proposal. My world was shattered. I’d planned my life around the success of the proposal already. But I got a no!
#4. I wrote a letter to a girl I was in love with. That was when I was in Junior high school. I was convinced she loved me. She was always laughing when we were together. She would unconsciously hold my hand and lean on my shoulder and say; “ow you’re very funny, that’s why I keep coming to you.” That was like music to my ears.
I wrote her a letter to tell her how much I’d loved her. She read the letter. Smiled and looked at my direction. She walked straight to my desk and whip me with the letter whiles screaming on top of her voice; “do you know what love is? Do you understand the word love?” The whole class laughed and teased me. For close to one month, I lost my sense of taste. I couldn’t eat. I failed to win a woman who seemed already won.
#5. I went for an interview. It was a banking institution. It was a job I needed so badly. I had to travel for about five hours to get to the venue of the interview. The time given to me was 10am. I needed to impress them with punctuality so I decided to get there at least thirty minutes before the interview. I got to my destination and it started raining. I stood under I shelter as I watched the rain poured down like someone pouring water out of the ocean.
Time was no more on my side so I walked to the interview beaten by the rain. The reception tried to help by offering me a towel to clean up. I looked a mess. By the time I was called in, I had no confidence left. It was as though I wiped it off with the towel offered to me. The worse interview I’ve ever had in my life. I was never called back. And I didn’t blame them for not calling.
#6. I created a WhatsApp group for friends who were looking for employment. I had the best of intention. I thought of creating a platform where friends will provide links to a job they found that others might be interested in. And also creating the environment where people will share the interview experience so others will learn from. I pre informed everyone before adding them.
We were 25 members for the start and had a beautiful discussion the very first day. When I woke up the next morning, everybody had left the group except one guy. “Ahhh, have they left because they’ve found jobs whiles I was sleeping?” I asked. Just as I was contemplating, the last person remaining sent a message on the page: “now what?” Minutes later he also left.
I was unemployed. The world wouldn’t allow me to even be a WhatsApp Admin.
#7. I was an actor once. Not really, I was rather trying to become an actor. For a while all I could think about was the opportunity to act along side the big movie stars in the country. The opportunity finally came. I auditioned for a role. I was told my audition wasn’t impressive but the director had this faith that if I’m giving a little bit of training and rehearsed the role for a while, I could make it.
I was handed a lifeline. I had a lot of rehearsals with the assistant director for some months. I had many rehearsals times even with the cast. Finally it was time for shooting and we had to work with the main director. I tried it one more time with him. At some point he screamed: “Can you please act as if you are not acting? You are acting like someone who’s acting and that’s not good enough.” He dropped me. When the movie came out, I didn’t watch. Till today, I haven’t.
Today, these failures don’t mean anything to me. Looking back, it was everything that made me question my existence. Every one of them was hard for me to take. But what happened afterwards?
Life as usual.
None of these was able to change my height though it disturbed my sense of orientation. It was hard getting a beat from a girl I thought would love me. But I had to let love go so I could win the love of another. It was difficult for my young mind to accept the fact that the school I loved so much had no space for me.
The best of ideas I had were met with Nos. Just when I thought I’ve gotten the chance to take a step towards my dream job, the rain will pour down on me and rob my confidence away. Mum loved me a lot but maths made me question her love for me over and over again.
But today, James Altucher tells me maths is about “plus, minus and equal.” He said; everyday in life, “find your PLUS: someone you could learn from. Find your EQUAL: someone to challenge you. Then find your MINUS: someone to teach. For teaching solidifies learning.”
Failures might come today. And I’m not sad. I would not be left broken. Because, I’ll be here tomorrow, talking about them as if they didn’t happen.
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