Society is shortsighted in celebrating just the success stories.

Doing so gives the impression that outward success is all that is important.

Society does something more harmful. It shames people who have failed. As a consequence, only those who possess resilience in copious quantities take risks. The rest of the people take the safe route.

This means fewer innovations.

Air travel would be a myth if the Wright brothers thought this way.

In this line of reasoning, we miss one key point.

Success is not guaranteed.

While we celebrate the successful outcome, the Wright brothers chose to work on their idea, knowing that failure is possible.

Society needs more risk-takers.

We need to celebrate the risk-takers.

More importantly: We must celebrate those who took a risk and did not succeed.

So that we encourage more people to take risks.

Double Whammy

Failure hurts worse than a session in the dentist’s chair.

Anyone who has experienced failure will tell you it is a gut-wrenching experience. Coming to terms with it is a tough ask. The time when someone experiences failure or a setback is the time when support will be welcome.

And this is precisely the time when family and society will see fit to pile it on.

This is precisely the time they will say, “I told you so”.

This is precisely the time when they will stop and judge mercilessly.

This is precisely the time when they will give all the advice they can muster.

This becomes a double whammy. The person must not only deal with internal demons but also ward off external forces.

My naive guess is most people are not equipped to deal with this double dose.

People are instinctively aware of this double whammy and choose the safe route.

Celebrate that Failure

Theoretically we know failures are the stepping-stones to success.

We’ve heard this cliche all through childhood. However, when my classmates scored low marks in their exams, not once have I heard my teachers give out words of reassurance.

Not once.

Times have changed, people tell me. Teachers can no longer dish out corporal punishment. They can still give out that disapproving look. Which can be more harmful than any caning. Caning bruises the skin. Disapproval bruises the soul.

Others will judge us on our failures.

It is then imperative that we redouble our efforts to change our internal compass.

One way to do that is to celebrate our failures. The same way we jump up with success, we do the same with failures. Because we know this failure is a necessary ingredient. We know that skipping this failure would have meant skipping a necessary part of the recipe.

Of course, we will stop, learn from this failure, and take corrective actions. Celebrating failures doesn’t mean throwing objectivity out the window, it doesn’t mean closing our eyes to what is.

Celebrating our failure means we know our true potential, which is limitless, and that we are celebrating this snapshot in time which is necessary. We may not realize that it is necessary — we don’t possess the lens that can show us the big picture — but it is certainly necessary.

Celebrate that failure.

We Must Live Life Fully

The biggest risk is not taking any risk. — Mark Zuckerberg

We are put on earth for a short duration.

We must live life fully. A life full of platitudes and fear is not a rich life. Yet, most of the world lives this way.

More significantly, looking at the majority of people who live a safe life, this becomes the norm.

True, if a person is clear that they want a routine and simple life, that is perfectly fine. I applaud their clarity.

I suspect that most people want to do more with their lives but are afraid to do so.

That is a shame.

Anyone Who Has Taken a Risk is a Hero in My Books

By definition, a risk involves the possibility of failure.

Anybody who takes a risk does so with the knowledge that they may fail. Society celebrates success stories. I, too, applaud people who took risks and succeeded.

I also applaud those who took a risk and failed.

Their contribution is as necessary as those who succeeded.

Triumph and disaster are impostors, says Rudyard Kipling.

We must adopt this mindset when applauding courageous risk-takers.

Anyone who has taken a risk, regardless of the outcome of their risk, is a hero in my books.