Manipal Monk: Dealing with Failure

When you are young you are full of ambition, goals, and dreams. You are told that the world is your oyster and that anything is possible. However the harsh reality is that things don’t always work out the way you hope and expect them to.

I used to be naive and my years of experience have no doubt made me more bitter and cynical. Although I like to think that I have coped with the various downfalls. Obviously it depends on your personality and the size of the failure, but I feel that there are some similar points and advice that will be useful to anyone:

1. Don’t take it personally – There is no global conspiracy against you. The world does not hate you. Your initial reactions are to blame someone other than yourself and get worked up about it.

2. Look at the bigger picture – I failed to get into the university of my choice. I failed by 1 mark. I was very annoyed but in the end of the day I had a chance to resit the exams. Of course I was angry at first but after cooling off I got realistic.

3. Take advantage of the situation – More often then you realize failing something doesn’t mean the world will end. There are opportunities to re-do it, which in itself opens up more opportunities.

4. Remain open and flexible from short term to long term – When you are young you have aspirations. These are what you should always focus on it allows you to commit to something and set goals for yourself. However be prepared to change those aspirations even if you don’t have any setbacks as you grow and mature you’ll discover new things or you may find something else you want to do.

My personal experiences are full of failures, but I am actually a better person for it. However I try not to be defined by it. I will be the first one to make jokes and banter about it. For instance, my exams at school, I did well but not well enough (literally 1 mark short!) so I couldn’t go to the university I wanted to. After a week of thinking I decided to take a year out, resit one exam, and get a part time job. I then decided to do some traveling. It was a great time and an experience that I feel has hopefully made me a better person. My friends say that I am the most determined person they have ever met which is great since I hope to get a job in which determination is required.

Even if you think you don’t need determination, it will definitely be helpful at some point in your life, perhaps sooner than you think. I am also a big believer in the idea that everything happens for a reason. So hopefully everything will work out well in the end.

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The ways of the monk are turbid and often give you a solid headache but devotion and commitment is the first step to enlightenment ( also known as stick to your poison ). To share your enlightenment with the monk, write to him at manipal.monk@manipalblog.com