Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Own Your Failure

Last week, I heard from a friend that an acquaintance is having a tough time finding a job. Then my friend mentioned that the person in question blames her past job role and lack of exposure for her inability to find work. I was completely taken aback by that statement and it set me thinking about my experience last year.

I was in a similar situation last year when I couldn't find the type of job I wanted. It was a tough rough patch during which I questioned a lot of things about myself and became quite depressed too. But never even for a minute did I blame my past employers or bosses or job roles for the situation I was in. How could I? I am not a helpless creature dependent on others to make me employable!

At every stage in life, I have felt empowered to create and develop myself regardless of the situation I am thrown in, be it personal or professional. Even in a bad marriage, I felt empowered to be a good mother and a decent person seeking a deeper meaning in life. Even under poor leadership and with no guidance whatsoever in the last few years, I learned new skills and polished myself as a designer and leader to the best of my abilities. Battling a severe illness until just a few years ago, I didn't act like a victim and, in fact, learned most of the skills I have today during those terrible years of non-stop suffering.

The onus of developing my skills and becoming what I wanted to become has always been totally mine. This empowerment wasn't handed down to me by anyone- no husband or organization or or even circumstances showed me the way or made it easy for me. In fact, there were more spokes in the wheel than I care about. But instead of blaming anyone for the opportunities I lost along the way, I took ownership of my failures because I take ownership of my life, and aren't failures a part of life?

No doubt if you blame others for your failures, it does feel good for a while. It's so much easier to say "Hell, I gave him/her/them the best years of my life and got nothing in return, or it's because they did such non-creative work that I didn't get a chance to hone my skills" than saying "Hell, how could I have been so short-sighted all these years, why didn't I expand my horizons when I had the time, and what is this weakness in me that shows up as poor self confidence"?

However good it may feel in the short term, blaming others makes you a loser because in effect you are admitting that you are powerless and it's the environment and people around you who get to decide what you learn and what you become. The problem with that logic is that if you do get somewhere in life, it's also all because of others, not you.

Sister, it's only when you own your failures that you can own your success!

(Completely resonates with the Buddhist principle of oneness of self and environment. Ever since I understood this brutal powerful empowering principle, I live by it every day.


  1. If parts of this post sound pompous and self congratulatory, please know that's not my intent- these are truthful facts about traits that I attribute to a subconscious drive to survive and I only recognized them recently in retrospect.

  2. I so agree Puja -- i think it is what you make out of a situation :-). Love your posts!

    1. Thanks Karishma.

      If one shirks responsibility for one's bad situations, one gives up the right to take credit for the good stuff. That's the bitter truth. Though people hardly ever say "I had no part to play in this good's all because of others"!

  3. meaningful words put down so beautifully!! life is a journey involving good and bad times, we can appreciate good times only when we have tasted bad ones.....

  4. Bravo Puja. What a lovely positive expression. Keep it up and make me feel proud!!!