Success, Failure And The Numbers Game…
With Board results out this week, we had a good number of excited parents and grandparents sharing with PT the academic successes of our talented and hard-working young students, who had made us all proud with their fabulous results. As always, PT’s ‘Parsi Pride Brigade’ (Pg. 4) congratulates and celebrates the efforts and hard work put in by our enterprising young guns, who are well on their way to securing a successful future and a meaningful life.
While we heartily celebrate the achievements of our top-scorers, let the numbers and percentages serve as only inspiration, and not shame, to those who perhaps didn’t score the ‘high marks’ or alternatively, weren’t able to clear their class. I’ve known instances where even parents refuse to divulge the marks of their children because they didn’t score in the 90s percentile! Now, coming from parents, that’s ludicrous, considering the fact that they were students themselves just 15-20 years ago, when a ‘75%’ or ‘Distinction’ was a matter of great ecstasy and pride for students and parents!
Yes, times have changed… what with the sky-high academic expectations, crazy pressures and competition… and let’s not even venture towards those surreal, nightmarish ‘cut-off percentages’ set by ‘reputed’ colleges. Unfortunately, all this sets a false precedent when it comes to defining two of life’s most integral aspects – success and failure. The essence and opportunity offered by these, as valuable life-lessons, gets guzzled completely by the ‘Numbers Game.’
There’s just no escaping the ‘Numbers Game’… it eclipses our childhood, rendering success and failure as the primary reserve of academic percentages achieved in exams; and then, it consumes our adulthood, where success and failure become the primary reserve of the number of digits your salary ‘cheques’ in! And so, inadvertently or otherwise, we pretty much shape our lives around these ‘numbers’.
While we need to change with the times, we need to, more importantly, strike a balance, and not get swept away by the Numbers Game. Which is why, there is a need to reiterate, especially at this point, the true essence of ‘failure’… For the most part, failure tends to be more public than success. Or that’s how we perceive it. We fear it, we fret it, we try to avoid it; and we question, judge and second-guess our self-worth and that of our loved ones, every time we are faced with an unconventional result, defined as ‘failure’. But the simple truth is – no great success was ever achieved without failure. Failure is not a step backwards, it’s the unfailing stepping-stone to success.
Best put in the words of globally renowned motivational speaker and best-selling author, Denis Waitley, “Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.”
May our congratulatory messages serve as celebration to all the deserving students who worked hard for their achievements; but more importantly, may these serve as inspirational stepping-stones to the rest.
Have a lovely weekend!