Wednesday, March 24, 2010

On Failure

Last week, I failed.

There are two types of failures. In one case, you fail and haven't a clue why. In the other case, after the failure, you knew exactly why you failed. Last week's failure was of the latter type, which makes it more interesting to talk about.

The first reason for my failure is because I lost sight of the goal. I knew what I wanted before it happened and I remembered what I wanted after it ended. But while it was happening, I completely lost sight of my goal. In fact, I found exactly what I wanted; so perfect, so right. But not conscious of my goal at the time, I didn't work hard enough, I didn't push far enough, and I didn't value what I had enough. When the dust settled last week, all I was left was the feeling of stupidity and regret. That made me sick to my stomach.

The second reason for my failure is because until last week, I didn't realize that time is my enemy. I used to be cavalier about time, so much so that I could be considered lazy. For some reason, I thought that I had all the time in the world and with enough time, I will find clarity and solve my problems. But time never makes anything better. Time reduced the Roman Empire to rubbles and brought the mighty Qing dynasty to its knees. The clock started the moment it happened and I let the clock run out on me.

The last reason for my failure is because I ignored the problems. It's not that I didn't see the problems; I had ample warning ahead of time. I simply swept them under the rug. This is a particular nasty character flaw of mine that has manifested itself many times in my life. There are problems that scare me, because I don't know how to tackle them. So I ignore them in the hopes that they'll go away or become easier. That never happens. In fact the opposite is true. The more I ignore a problem the bigger it gets, until one day it explodes in my face.

The frustrating part is that I had all the tools to prevent the failure from happening. This makes the failure all the more difficult to swallow. Had I honestly tried my best and if then, I still failed, then it just wasn't meant to be. But I didn't do my best. Hence the regret.

On a higher level, a large part of my failure must be attributed to my mental state. When I'm having a good day, I'm an unstoppable genius. But when I'm having a bad day, I'm a pathetic shadow. In the past few months, I had more bad days than good, was more shadow than genius. And fortunately, this is something I have a lot of control over. So from henceforth, I will be having a lot more good days.

Look forward to seeing me on one of those days.

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