The Thing About Failure…

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Whatever it may bring, failure is a terrible thing.

What is it about failure that we really don’t know? People fail into awkward and difficult situations. As with the Literary and Performing Arts industry, where I ply my trade, these things happen. And I had an unforgettable brush with failure that I wish to share. To begin, we know that failure is really not good for our inner self. When we experienced failure, the entire system in our body feels like falling apart. We feel mentally collapse and our breaking point is reached. People say it’s ironic how failure can provide the best inspiration for our thoughts. Failure is like the best teacher of life and the best reminder of our flaws. It literally makes us forget that we’re not perfect. Because one of the most difficult decision one has to make after failing is, choosing whether to walk away or try harder…(Can’t remember where I found this quote but) either way, we won’t be the same person anymore.

Whatever it may bring, failure is a terrible thing. Because it’s almost a certainty that a psychological reaction will follow every time we fail. With a bit of annoyance, we become fluent in expletives. Even the toughest optimist will dread at the prospect of failing. And without realizing it, we succumbed to our pain, we unwittingly hurt people around us, more than our own death. Does this feeling ever happen to you? I bet it does… perhaps even worse. As a budding playwright, I seem to have a habit of confronting too many of them. Writing is hard! Producing your work and getting recognition is even harder.

Failure changes for the better, success for the worse.
~ Lucius Annaeus Seneca.

When failure enters your realm, you feel at your weakest even when you’re tough, and vulnerable even when you’re strong. Retribution is unbearable, while to live life the next moment is like a bloody torment. Insanity is a only a few spoken words away. The choice and sacrifice you made when you started out is only what you have to defend your case. But until you meet your demise, failure will linger on. They don’t really haunt you but enough to prick your skin. They’re the data on your monitor screen that you’re unable to delete. They could communicate to you and cling like a pesky nuisance! And naturally  you want to kill it but that’s the thing about failure…when it happens, it becomes a part of you, indefinitely. 

There are so many things that people can fail at. School exams, relationships, business venture and personal endeavours. And sometimes afterwards the same failure is just waiting to happen again, luring in disguised as another golden opportunity to restart whatever that we have failed before. A second chance at a hopeless cause. And the illusion of success will throw you back into the same hole. You are probably kidding yourself but you will be the fool to go for it again. Apparently, second chances are worse than whatever the cause that you started out in the first place! Time that has gone and pass, will make you feel completely helpless. 

In truth, failure are like sins that we’re not immune to. I have failed far too many times and my previous experience was probably the worst one yet. I needed to fix it. I know it’s hard to dismiss it as plain, bad luck, but this is the challenge I faced. I suppose this is what people who fail would have to deal with. Time is so unkind because you know there is no such thing as ‘turning back the clock’. And every moving matter you see around you makes you sick.

About two years ago, I started a project, a theatre production. It’s not a huge project but quite an ambitious one. The project attracted quite a modest but amazing group of participants. The script which I wrote, centered upon psychological deception, was to me, a breakthrough. It was probably because of the challenges in the pre-production stages and the genre of the story-line — A mystery “whodunit” suspense murder. We have all the Artistic as well as the Technical people in place. And mind you, I’m not talking about your average theatre actors or director or producer. These are esteemed professional stage practitioners. So to cut a story short, the work came to an abrupt end. For some reason we failed to gather enough financial support and sponsorship for the project to go through… Now this is the type of failure that not only cost reputations but it also affected lives. So basically, it’s a worst kind of failure you can imagined.

Till now, the verdict is still out there on how things went wrong.  But in picking up the pieces, the emotional stress was unbearable. Regrets was plenty and the constant aching has no voice. I wanted to put the blame on fate but fate has no face. No way to typify the unfortunate turn of events. The effort was disproportionate to the outcome. And mysteriously so, failure seems to pave the way for more unpleasant situation to emerge. Then you will realize who your friends are. The shoulder to cry on just isn’t there. Even the person in the mirror won’t talk back to you. Sometimes it feels like you’re loosing control.

Of course it never ends there. You need to come out of the hiding because apparently, there are work to be done. Face the world with your damaged pride and your broken down dignity. Your shame will be made know for everyone to see. It makes no difference who gets the blame. Because the real test begins with whatever the emotional aftermath that you are trying to cope with, you have to carry them with you while you complete the process. As though the trauma wasn’t enough, the work just would not end. If the hurt doesn’t kill you, the deadlines will.

“…Find what you love and let it kill you.
Let it drain you of your all. Let it cling onto your back and weigh you down into eventual nothingness.
Let it kill you and let it devour your remains.
For all things will kill you…”
– Charles Bukowski

So what is thing about failure? Here’s the reality of it… It’s something that we must avoid at all cost. People say, dare to dream. But in my case, many dreams were shattered, promises broken, and friendship lost. At some point there will be complete nothingness only to realize that it’s a survival game. I’m probably still fighting it now. People tell you, that you should never give up in what you believe you can do. But they forget to tell us, that you are likely to suffer first, in the aftermath of a failure. Some just die trying… Well, actually the world around you will die and the negativity continues until things turn around. You will keep knocking the door at Lady Luck. But she has hearing problems and your hands are sore. All this while time just ticks away…

Failure is NOT a good thing. We run away from things that make us unhappy, so why risk ourselves into failing. But if you do come face to face with failure, here is what you probably can do. Be prepared to find a different life. Find yourself a new YOU. Be prepared to change from that old environment but more importantly from your former self. Meet new people because it can be very lonely out there. Find an excuse to pick yourself up. Always be pragmatic. That means you can fail again. Think harder..! And finally, just remember to keep that same loving spirit with you always because if nothing works, you will still be loved.

Note from the writer: The opinion above is based on the writer’s personal experience. Should the suggested methods are to be tried, results may vary from one reader to another. The writer shall not be responsible for any failure on the part of the reader. Good Luck to you all. Cheers…!

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