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  • Kanav Khurana

Responding to Failure

Updated: Sep 2

‘Failure’ is subjective. For some, failure is something substantial - like a failed relationship. For others - like me - failure can be something small - like miscommunication at work leading to slow progress.

I guess it’s safe to define failure as something that makes you feel like you were below par.

Why is it important to fail? Life is not a bed of roses. It will bring you challenges - familial, financial, intellectual, emotional and spiritual. Hence, it is important to build the failure-resistant muscle.

For me, the way I deal with failure is to suspend emotions and be generous with myself. The internal sergeant is adept at jumpstarting into deprecating self-talk. I believe this happens more in people who:

  • Set high standards for themselves

  • Have a tendency to spend a lot of time in their head

  • Don’t say a lot


This sergeant will say the following things to you:

  • How could you be so silly?

  • You’re not good enough for this.

  • You’ve made a big blunder!


Respond to the sergeant in the following ways:

  • Take it easy, it’s not such big a deal

  • It is not about me, the person

  • It is more about the idea associated with me

  • I will use this tension constructively

  • Tension means that the situation is stretching you in one direction

  • It is up to you to decide that direction

  • Get frustrated

  • OR use the tension to learn and improve


Once the sergeant is quiet, I typically do the following:

  • Write my thoughts down

  • Reflect on them

  • See the situation objectively

  • Internalise how I can learn from this situation.


Some wise person has said - “failures are failures only if you don’t learn from them”.



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