Filed Under: Self Development
Date Created:23 Aug 2016
Last Modified:05 Sep 2016
Number of Views: 718
You are going to fail. That is a fact, and there is nothing you can do about it. You are human, and by virtue of that, you are bound to fail. It is in our nature. But how you view failure, and how you handle it, will determine whether or not you are truly a failure.
It sounds grim, doesn’t it? No, actually, it’s quite far from it. Failure is probably the best thing that can happen to you. Trust me, I know. I have failed a countless number of times. But I viewed my failures in a positive light and realized that they were actually blessings. Let me elaborate three areas where I failed quite badly but in the long run, emerged the hero.
Firstly, school. I went to the Copperbelt University eager and enthusiastic, fresh from high school. I was a top student, quite brilliant and with a renowned track record of excellent performance. Everyone who knew me knew I was good and close to the best. But none of them, I inclusive, knew what lay ahead.
Immediately classes kicked off, I knew I would have it rough. I was plunged in a fast-paced world, quite unlike anything I knew. University was far different from high school lower school and I did not know how to deal with it. It is not about how fast you can grasp facts and how many facts you can grasp. It is about grasping the right facts at the right time. It is about networking with your fellow students to ascertain what facts you need to know. It is about knowing and studying your lecturers well to determine what they want of you.
University is fast-paced and furious, and needs you to be focused and quickly go along with the flow and maintain that flow. Any disturbance or loss of balance and you find yourself in a quagmire, sinking fast.
I took long to get used to this, and add to this the fact that I am naturally introvert; so I kept to myself most times—big mistake. Before long, I was doomed to fail. It was written on the wall. Add to this the fact that I fell sick for almost a month towards the end of the academic year of my second year. And to make matters worse, there was a huge demonstration during the same period (2007) that saw the University being closed indefinitely. By the time the school was re-opened, I was totally disoriented. I tried to get back on track, but it was a little too late. No amount of cramming or ‘gunning’, as we called it, could save me.
Yes, I failed. After two years studying Electrical Electronics, something that I did indeed love and had always dreamt of doing, I dropped out. I was excluded.
It was a hard pill to swallow. I knew I was smart. And that is what made it hard. My reputation was dented by this failure. For the first time in my life, I had really failed. I felt as if I had a big ‘F’ brandedinto my forehead for everyone to see. I could no longer walk with my head held high. I became more withdrawn than ever before.
You see, in Zambia, failure is costly. It meant I had lost a couple of things. I lost my bursary sponsorship. I lost my room on campus—things that I had fought to really get.
It was going to be hard and close to impossible to go back to where everything used to be. If I was to return, it would mean my dad would have to pay everything from his pocket—something which he could not manage at the time.
Yes, I had disappointed my parents and everyone who looked up to me. I am the first born in my family and so this was definitely going to impact my siblings who looked up to me. No longer would I be a good example to them!
Most importantly, I had disappointed myself. I beat myself about it. If only I had studied hard enough. If only I had attended all the lectures. If only I had mingled with my classmates more.
But in time, I began to view my failure more positively. I began to tell myself that failure was a door to opportunities that I never knew existed; and so I could actually utilize it to do things that I could otherwise not have done. What greatly helped was the fact that my father bought me a website which I began to manage, introducing me to a brand new world which I began to love; perhaps even more than I loved Electronics: the world of Web Design and Programming.
Later on, the time came for me to return to school. But I was apprehensive: the memories of my failure were still fresh in my mind. But my father convinced me to try again. And so I went to study Information Technology at the Copperbelt University, partly because it was a cheaper alternative; but mostly because I was now in love with computers.
Things turned out to be different this time. I totally loved what I was studying. And I knew what I had to do to pass. I no longer kept to myself. I mingled with my classmates. I studied my lecturers and knew what they wanted.
Before long, I was the best student in my class. I was doing exceedingly well. When the time for graduation came, I was busy working on an online web design and programming course—something I thought I could start as a business. Most of my classmates were already signing up and I was sharing what I knew with them – giving them informative lessons and assignments.
It was at this moment that I had a brainwave. I went to see one of my lecturers, Dr Hastings Maboshe Libati, and showed him what I was doing with my online web design and programming course. He was so impressed and accepted that I could work on it as my final project. He even went to the extent of promising me a job as a web developer at the Copperbelt University. I thought he was just pulling my leg.
But I thought wrong.
While at home on holiday; I jokingly told my mom that I would not go applying for a job; that rather, I would just be called. Imagine my astonishment when exactly that happened! My lecturer had just been appointed the Director of the Directorate of ICT at the Copperbelt University and he immediately thought of me. He called me and asked if I was interested in working as a web Developer to help them implement online registration at the Copperbelt University. I, of course, accepted. Anything to take me away from home which I felt I had now outgrown. It was then that I learnt for the first time the power of positive affirmation.
I now work at the Copperbelt University as a Software Developer. I have evolved from a mere Web Developer to something even more. When I look back at it, it is a fantastic story. From an utter failure to a member of staff at the very University that once failed me. If not for my failure, I wouldn’t be here. It is definitely a better place.
But at the time, I wouldn’t have known that my failure was actually a blessing. If only I had known, I would not have beaten myself up so much.
If you think that is where my failure ended. Think again.
Time passed and I reached another major milestone in my life. I fell in love. This was not just a mere brush with fleeting infatuation, no. It was the real deal. I loved her so much I was willing to wife her. I even went to the extent of engaging her and making a down-payment towards the bride price.
Yes, everything looked good and I couldn’t have been happier.
But that was not to last, no. Life had other plans for me. I noticed a drastic change in my partner. Hard to accept as it was, she fell out of love with me and accused me of cheating on her. So she called off the engagement.
I was devastated. I found it totally unfair, after having reached such an advanced stage. I found myself drowning back into my former misery. The ‘F’ on my forehead returned and I did not see how I was going to recover from this. To me, this was the worst blow. I had totally failed to keep the woman I loved. Yes, failure owned me now.
I fondly remember that bus ride from what would be the last time I visited her. A man of God began to preach on the bus, and it was almost as if God had sent him to talk specifically to me. He talked of a young man who experienced exactly what I did. His fiancée called off the wedding at the last minute and he was devastated. But he told him that “God’s time is the best.” And that in time, God would give him what truly belonged to him.
Holding on to those words, and remembering my previous failures and how everything had turned out in the end, I decided to forge ahead and trust in God. However, I had absolutely no idea how I was going to get over this. I had worked so hard to reach here, but now, everything was dashed to pieces. But little did I know it was the greatest thing that could have ever happened to me.
And this brings me to the third failure.
In my spare time, I had created a social site called Twishe (www.twishe.com). It is based on a ‘street’ concept where people meet and forge friendships. I had actually met my fiancée on the said Twishe. So my whole work on it was imbued with memories of her.
I no longer had the heart to continue working on it at all. Part of the reason I had created Twishe was to fulfill a fantasy—that I would meet my true love on it.
And this I thought I had achieved; but she left me and it was all for nothing—or so I thought.
Twishe itself turned out to be quite a failure. It had not generated as much hype as I thought it would. And so I slowly lost interest in it and even came close to shutting it down. But I decided to give it one last try.
And lo and behold! I met her. A girl, a woman, with whom I had so much in common. We talked and we immediately felt the connection. I can still remember jumping up and down like a giddy fool the first time I heard her voice. She sounded like an angel; like everything I had ever wanted.
I knew from that moment, that she was the one. I met her family and formalized things and we got married. Due to having limited resources, we did not have a fancy wedding or something of the sort; but since being together is all we wanted, it sufficed.
Not long thereafter, we had a child, a boy. He is the most amazing thing we have ever seen, and everyone who sees him falls in love with him. He is smart and brilliant and so adorable—truly a gift.
If I had not broken up with my first fiancée and gone ahead with the marriage, I would not have met my wife; and we would not have known our son. Once again, my failure has worked to my greatest advantage.
I jokingly tell myself that the greatest thing I have ever done is fathering my son; because I know he will be someone truly great one day.
Failure is nature’s own way of telling you that you are on the wrong path, and that you need to step back and take a closer look at where you are going wrong. It’s a cue to only jump higher, and aim higher, and not stop at all.
Failure accelerates the learning process. One who attempts something and fails is far much better than anyone who does not try at all for fear of failure, because he gets to learn so much. And nothing is more valuable than that.
Failure has taught me that there is something even more brilliant, more awesome, waiting for you. You just need to be positive about it, and forge ahead.
You just need to jump again. To try again. To continue forging ahead.
I know I will fail again. It is inevitable. I am human. But I will never give up. I will learn from my mistakes and try again. I will jump again. And this time, I know, I will jump higher, and reach heights that I never knew I could.
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