Let's talk about failures
Updated: Nov 23, 2020
What is it about failure we fear? Is it shame? Is it the absence of support from the dearest ones? Is it the lack of motivation? Whatever it is presents to you, failure is a mentally drowning feeling no one is voluntarily willing to experience. However, at some point in life you still get to experience it and when you do, it is tough. No one prepares you for it. It hits you unexpectedly and you are forced to deal with it. Depending on how you deal with it, it either shapes you or breaks you (hopefully the former).
In social realms failure is not openly discussed. People tend to talk about their highlights instead. And that is totally understandable – why would you want to be a downer? Regardless, some might confuse sharing of one’s failures with complaining about life. For this reason you seldom hear others’ stories of failures – it is success stories most of the time.
Having said that, it is equally important to speak about failures without guilt or shame as it is to speak about achievements. Because of this lack of the failure talk young people in their twenties have wrong perceptions about the failure phenomenon and choose to fear it. They choose to fear it although failure represents a great part of everyone’s life, and if handled correctly, genuinely contributes to one’s growth.
I am not an exception and have encountered countless failures throughout my life. For this reason I am going to dare and talk about my recent failure which influenced me the most.
I had been thinking about applying abroad for master’s degree as soon as I started pursuing bachelor’s degree. Not to the extent of taking actions, but rather just brainstorming. Having found what seemed like a perfectly fitting opportunity in Sweden, I took TOEFL in December without having time to properly get ready for it and, luckily, got through universities’ minimum requirements (boy, if only I had more time on hand). January was the deadline for applications thus the entire month from December to January I was gathering and scanning all the necessary documents.
Master’s degree in Sweden works this way: you choose up to four universities and apply to them via a specialized online portal. This portal makes the application process easy and quick since there is no need to apply separately to each university (especially if you are applying by yourself without help from a third party). Not being able to afford all the costs, my aim was to get a scholarship which covers everything from flight tickets to accommodation, insurance and tuition fee. Little did I know how competitive it is. Not having a backup plan (bad, bad idea) I solely relied on the opportunity to study in Sweden and applied to a well-known scholarship called Visby later in February.
Fast forward to April and finding out results. Fortunately, I did get a place in one of the universities and yet I was not relieved. I knew that scholarship results come in two weeks hence the anxious thoughts started kicking in. To feel less anxious I joined a WhatsApp group with all the students who are in the same boat. This group made the whole application process much more interactive and less stressful.
April twenty sixth came and the results became known – as you probably guessed it, I did not get the scholarship. I remember the day I got the results and how broken I felt. I was interning at a local company at that time when I could feel my tears started falling down my cheeks in desperation. The whole process of acceptance did not come easy, but I got the hang of it eventually (and even applied and got accepted to another country, although the money issue closed this door for me).
Why am I sharing this with you? In this world of success and wealth it is so easy to acquire false perceptions and get a feeling that you have to succeed from the very first try. Is it the real life? Absolutely not. In reality you do fail before your wildest dreams become a reality. You put yourself out there and work your hardest. You get out of your comfort zone because that is the only way to get access to the best opportunities. You fall and get back up. Getting up becomes easier and easier as the time goes by and it does not bother you anymore. You start receiving what you have never had because you start doing what you have never done before. Failing does not scare you anymore and you are stronger than ever.
Image credit: Klawe Rzeczy