Try Try and Try Again Until You Succeed

Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.

Oprah Winfrey

Sure, these big words are inspirational but anyone who has ever experienced failure knows that quotes are not what are required and if anything, they only make us feel worse. It is only in retrospect that we understand what these inspirational words were trying to tell us.

Failure is part of the journey. Of course, not every expedition we take ends in success but does that mean we stop trying? NO! There is a Bollywood movie that is entirely dedicated to dealing with failure in exams and one of its famous dialogues goes like-

Success ke baad ka plan sabke paas hai, lekin agar galti se fail ho gaye toh failure se kaise deal karna hai koi baat hi nahi karna chahta.
(Translation: Everyone has a plan after achieving success, but if you fail by mistake then how you need to deal with failure no one talks about that)
-Chhichhore

Failure is part of life, that is how we learn the importance of hard work and success. But there is such a big stigma attached to failing that even the mere thought of it gives us goosebumps. But why? Hasn’t every single person failed at least once in their life? Be it exams, presentation or job, we all have experienced setbacks. If you don’t experience the lows, how would you know the highs!

But enough preaching! During this gloomy time- first the pandemic and lockdown then all the other tragedies and now the exam results, this year sure looks like it is the worst. So, let us take a look at some of the famous stories and how failure was as integral part of all of them-

F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

This famous TV-show was almost cancelled before it was first aired. Of course, now you can’t think of your life without this masterpiece but did you know that the show was considered to be geared towards a too-young audience, had too many sexual innuendos, and featured characters that were only moderately likable to test audiences. NBC viewed it as a lacklustre effort but didn’t have much else to fall back on for its fall schedule.

F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

While it almost didn’t make it past test audiences, it ultimately aired and went on to win a Golden Globe, six Primetime Emmy Awards, two SAG Awards, and six People’s Choice Awards among many others.

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Jack Andraka

When he was 15, Jack Andraka had a crazy idea. He would create a diagnostic test for Pancreatic Cancer that was better than the tests developed by scientists, research labs and billion-dollar pharmaceutical companies.

Jack Andraka at the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair after winning first prize

Jack wrote a proposal to develop a better test. 199 research labs rejected him. Good thing he didn’t give up. The 200th research lab — at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore — accepted him. At the lab Jack Andraka developed a Pancreatic Cancer test 100 times better and 26,000 times less expensive than the current test. Jack’s invention will save tens of thousands of lives. And, in case that’s not impressive enough, the test also works for ovarian and lung cancer.

His diagnostic test earned him first prize at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, the world’s largest pre-college science research competition. The results of Jack Andraka’s diagnostic test were published on the Society for Science and the Public website, and Jack has patented his discovery.

Elizabeth Blackwell

Elizabeth Blackwell was rejected from 29 medical schools. So, she went to visit the schools in person. She was told she should pretend to be a man, because women weren’t fit to receive medical schooling. She refused.

Blackwell was accepted by mistake by Hobart College (then Geneva Medical College), and she matriculated. Many MD’s refused to work with her, but she persevered and graduated.

A postage stamp to pay homage to Elizabeth Blackwell

Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman to receive a medical degree in the U.S. (1849). She then built a medical practice, created a place where women could have medical internships (since many healthcare facilities didn’t welcome women), served impoverished families, and established the first medical college for women.

Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones Cast

The HBO magnum opus is perhaps has broken every possible record in terms of popularity. But there was a huge possibility of the show never getting made. The channel did not like the pilot episode as they found it ‘disjointed’. Finally, the makers of the changed some of the cast re-shot the whole pilot and it was only then that HBO decided to give it a try.

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Of course, what happened next created history and GoT went on to won a total of 269 awards and 738 nominations in various categories.

J.K. Rowling

When Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book, she was divorced, bankrupt and on welfare.

After a dozen publishers rejected her manuscript one finally agreed to publish it. But the publisher told Rowling that she needed to get a job because there’s no money in children’s books. She’s now a billionaire.

J.K. Rowling talks about failure at Harvard Commencement Speech

These above-mentioned anecdotes form a very very small part of the list of famous people who failed, some even multiple times, before they went onto do great things. What this article wants to convey is that- It Is Okay To Fail

It is how you gear up after that is what matters. No one will remember how much you scored in a class test or what was your AIR in an exam. However, what they will remember is that you did not let it deter you from your chosen path and kept going till you reached your destination.

And as the famous Japanese proverb goes-

Nanakorobi yaoki
(Translation: fall seven times, stand up eight)

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