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A mistake is a failure if you repeat it

Use setbacks in life to motivate you to do better.

education Updated: Jul 02, 2013 15:44 IST
Samir Parikh

Thomas Edison made hundreds of unsuccessful attempts to invent the light bulb before he finally succeeded. He said that he did not make a hundred mistakes; instead, he learnt hundreds of ways in which not to make a bulb. Failure teaches you more than success ever could. It teaches what not to do, it teaches you how to handle disappointments and it teaches you the value of hard work.

But when you fail, it is up to you whether you choose to fall ­backwards or forward. Falling backwards would mean feeling hopeless and demoralised, avoiding the situation or repeating the same mistakes over and over. On the other hand, moving forward would mean learning from your mistakes, improving on your effort and performance and using your failure to motivate you. Here some suggestions

1 Failure is just a word: The attitude you adopt determines your success and failure. Your attitude towards setbacks will decide whether you use it as a learning experience or choose to give up instead.

2 There are only learning experiences in life: Do not think of outcomes in terms of success and failure. Instead, think about what you can learn from the experiences that come your way.

3 The direction after learning is in our control: Your performance is in your hands, the result is not always. Weather you succeed or fail, what you choose to do afterwards, and how you move ahead after your result will determine your success in the long run.

4 Constant self-correction: Practice and a willingness to adapt are the only ways to succeed. No matter how good you might be in your chosen field, constant self-correction is the only way to succeed.

5 Have a clear vision: There is no one, fixed route to reaching your targets. As long as you have your vision in mind, you will always be able to carve your path to success.

6 Be willing to learn: A mistake is a failure only if you repeat it. Ups and downs are a part of life but you have failed only if you have not learnt from your experience. Be open to experiencing different things and be willing to learn. Use your failures to motivate you to do better.

7 Seek help: If you think you are in a rut and unable to get out, do not be afraid to seek help, either from friends and family, or from trained professionals. Doing so will enable you to get a fresh and objective perspective on your situation.

The author is director, mental health and behavioural sciences, Fortis Healthcare