The Success of a Failure

Yes, you read it right, failures can be successful.

But you do learn it the hard way.

Let me give you an introduction. The post is about a career setback and what I learned from it and how we can channelize the lessons we learn from the setbacks for a better career and life.

What I am trying to do here is to share with you all the lessons a failure taught me and how it lead to inner success. The only motto behind this is to share a little wisdom I had earned from this experience so that you guys don’t have to learn it the hard way. Although I learned it the hard way, I would choose this failure as one of the best things that has happened to me. I know this perspective has been put forward by many great personalities before, but please take this as a humble try to help people who can relate with this.

The background

First, let me share with you the reasons why I failed so that you can avoid them in the first place.


  • Focused on the goal, but not the system/process
    • I was so focused on the goals I set that I came not to focus on the system/process behind them. We definitely need to have a good system behind us before setting our goal. If you want to get better results, then forget about setting goals, focus on your system instead. Goals are so over-rated. A goal is just a compass you should take along with you to reach better results, but a system is what will be helpful for you to achieve better results in the long-run. Those who are interested in learning more about systems behind better results, please read the book, Atomic Habits by James Clear.

  • Values/Vision/Ideology
    • There should be a vision or ideology behind any job/task that you are doing. Lack of having it was one of the reasons for the failure. What I would suggest here is the importance of finding a purpose of doing a job and having a clear-cut vision or ideology behind it. It becomes a backbone of your decision-making as well as a support system for reaching your results in any kind of situation. Ikigai is one book I would suggest you all in case you want to understand more about this. Disclaimer: I read all the books I am mentioning here after the experience šŸ™‚. Reading books/watching related videos/audiobooks or any method to gain knowledge always help.
  • The homework part
    • This, I believe is the most underrated topic. Sticking to the basics and doing homework before any task is pretty useful. I have read about Sachin, Federer, etc. who always believe in sticking to the basics and do the basic practice sessions almost every day. We should also try to do our homework and research before any task so that we will have some insight about the task in hand beforehand. For eg: being well-prepared for a meeting.

  • Communication
    • Communication is one of the most important factors that will help you in shaping your career. Communication is just not about the English or any language you speak or how well you speak. There are more layers to it . Let me list out a few which you might relate to.
      • Clarity of thoughts and clarity in communication of the thoughts and ideas
      • Importance of factual communication leading to a better decision making and correct decisions
      • Importance of not having missed communication
      • Consistency in communication
      • Not to have breakdown in communication chain/flow
      • Communication follow-through
  • Anxiety/Stress/Change management
    • A change may cause a lot of distress to the daily routine of your thoughts, perspectives and actions. This sometimes may cause anxiety which may lead to stress and even to depression. So taking care of your emotions and mind plays an important role in your life and career. Believe me, taking some time of your day for yoga/meditation/exercise/engaging in sports helps us a great deal with taking things in its strides and overcoming stress. Especially, given the current situation of most of us working from home and the lack of mental support that we might feel, the above methods to keep us engaged and refresh our minds will be of great help.
  • Understanding the importance of the level/task/designation
    • Having a clear-cut idea about the task you do, the difficulty level of it or the designation of yours is a must. If not, you might end up putting others in a difficult position in terms of decision making, delivering tasks on time, etc. Therefore, please have a correct understanding about the task/position you are handling and its requirements/demands/skill sets. That makes a lot of people’s lives easier.

The gain

Although the failure occurred because of the points I mentioned above, the fact is that I could learn tons of things from it. Below are some few points from those:

  • Still I Rise
    • When we have our heads back to the wall, it takes a lot of grit to bounce back and regain the confidence others had on you and more than that, the confidence you had on yourself. The biggest lesson we will learn from a failure is if we are ready to accept the failure, move on and put efforts to improve ourselves, we will be back with a higher bar of confidence and positivity.

  • Mindset
    • The power of a positive mindset is stronger than anything in the world. We have many leaders who have shown this to us. But is it only applicable to those who the world call as greats or all of us can possess it ? The answer is it is applicable to all those who can apply it in real life. Understanding things in its real sense, the way it is and then contemplating on its merits/demerits will help you with having positive mindset and applying it when needed. This will help you with having a check on your ego, disagreements, etc.

  • Importance of continuous learning/Updating/Evolving
    • Somewhere between al the daily grinds we are onto, we forget the learning part. But that is not correct and logical. With the current world moving faster than we anticipate, the skillsets we require gets updated in lightning speed. I have heard stories about a project itself consisting of 50 odd people getting closed because of one AWS feature which automated the whole technology. Like one Zen quote goes ” If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading “. So keep learning, keep updating, keep evolving..

  • Understanding the mistakes and not taking feedbacks personal
    • Understanding the mistakes you made is the first step you are taking in order to improve yourselves. Taking some time off and having an outsider’s perspective on the way you operate will help you here. Once you analyze the way you operate yourself, ask for help from people who you think can help you with shedding some light on how you can improve . Do not hesitate to ask for help. One more important thing here is not to take any feedback given personally.

  • Importance of Personal improvement/time
    • Along the same lines of some ideas mentioned above, taking some time off for activities related to your personal improvement will help you indirectly with your career. If you have a stress-free, peaceful mind, it will essentially play a great role in your career too. Spending time with your family, having a good rest, proper sleep, etc. also contribute to you having a peaceful mind.

  • Importance of follow-ups and meeting people
    • Being a very reluctant person to have meetings will be a great roadblock for you, especially with the current work from home situation. Touching base with your team and peers is an important factor in any given day. Meet people, understand the vibe, take inputs and give suggestions when needed.

I completely understand this may not appeal to all the crowd and it is not general. Hope what I wrote above made some sense and a connection with some of you and your career.

Happy failing, happy learning.


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