How does Failure Taste?

Contributed by Wardah Noor

Disclaimer: The Eqbal Ahmad Centre for Public Education (EACPE) encourages critical and independent thinking and believes in a free expression of one’s opinion. However, the views expressed in contributed articles are solely those of their respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the EACPE.

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“Failure is a bruise. Not a Tattoo” (Jon Sinclair)

Failure is a word which everyone is familiar of. But how does failure taste might be different for different people. Failure is obviously not the end of one’s life but what if someone fails in one’s most important task? How does it feel if someone fails for the very first time, or what if someone fails and do not know what to do next?

Failure tastes bitter, annoying, dissatisfying and makes one completely helpless for sometime. Some people prefer to hold destiny accountable for their failures, which in my opinion is unwise. It’s the defense mechanism of one’s mind that makes one blame it on destiny, instead of introspecting one’s mistakes.

Wise men argue that destiny favors those who don’t believe in it. It seems fine to assume that destiny played its role when one did one’s best and still couldn’t get the required outcome. However, if one fails because of one’s personal weaknesses, then calling it destiny isn’t a right thing to do. It’s a common practice here in our society to seek a scapegoat to cover one’s own flaws, and hence, bringing the blame to destiny is the obvious choice that somehow invites psychological relief too.

Here is the story of my failure!

Initially, I used to consider destiny the main player in these matters, but my point of view changed when I myself tasted the failure. I think somewhere in my heart, I somehow longed for a failure. I wanted to know how does it really feel when every door seems closed? It looks like a lonely struggle, where one is one’s own companion. People would come and advice different things, most likely traditional ones which might be counterproductive. Still I really wanted to taste it. On the other hand, I had a strong belief that I will not fail. I was best prepared for upcoming test of Medical and Dental College Admission Test (MDCAT). Finally, 20th August 2017 approached, the day which I was waiting for a long time. For me it was an important and decisive day of my life. I was quite satisfied in the morning, and believed that I would do my best. After the test, I stepped outside with the same level of satisfaction. On the contrary, my class fellows were making enough outcry. I left examination centre accompanied by one of my friends with this self-belief that I will make it through. Then I got a message on WhatsApp that the paper of physics had been uploaded with its answer key by some academy. I quickly connected the internet, though it took me some time to muster courage to  see the answer key.

Literally, it was like someone is standing behind me and kicking my head when I continued to do so. Everyone was complaining that physics’ portion was tough, but I didn’t find it so. But when I checked a few MCQs, two of them were found wrong and these were those questions which I was sure that they were correct. I burst into tears. I couldn’t check it anymore. I wanted to continue checking, but I felt like I was dying. I was feeling giddy. I felt like my dreams were broken. After an hour, I again tried to check another page and this time again two MCQs were wrong. It was as if an atomic war was started in my heart. I lost my hopes. In the meanwhile, I reached home without knowing how to face my parents.

Finally, I shared it with my Mother who in turned encouraged me and asked why I was weeping? She quoted the examples of other people, like that of my cousins, who were not successful in their first attempts, but who didn’t lose their hearts and finally achieved their goals. Since it was evident to me that I was not going to be selected in medical this time, she advised me not to give up, stay strong, and try again next time.

Now, I was worried how to inform this all to my father, knowing that it would hurt him. I wept with full emotions like never before. My brothers attempted to console me. Knowing that I love shawarma, they went out to buy one for me. At that moment, I didn’t want to talk with anyone. Instead, I was just thinking of my father, his dreams, and his expectations. When finally I informed him, he simply smiled and like my mother, he too responded with politeness and showed his faith in him. I was not amazed at his response because he has always been supportive.

Besides the fact that everyone was so encouraging, my inner remained hurt and I kept feeling disheartened. Why it was so?

The purpose of sharing my story is that in life everyone has to taste failure. And sometimes it seems next to impossible to get up and fight again when winds are unfavorable. But this is also an opportunity to stand up, meet, greet and defeat the challenges.

The answer was there. While it’s true that I thought to become a doctor but in the test I was sitting for the sake of my parents and had the burden of their expectations on my mind. My tears were flown due to sort of hidden anger. This anger came from the disappointment that none of them had scolded me. None of them questioned me. None of them had shown any displeasure. I took pain for them, worked hard to fulfill their expectations, and all they said was to try again next time, and that failure was not a problem!

People! it’s over; I’m not going to repeat. I have decided not to compromise my dreams for others. Earlier, although I was confused about choosing between MBBS and BC (CS), but then I went for medical. The reason why I was failed is that I cared more for expectations of others than that of mine. I was only worried about dreams of my parents and that of my fellows, and I ignored where my own heart belonged.

So if you ask me how did failure taste to me, I would reply it tasted like Shawarma. After all, everyone was supporting me, and it tasted like an eatable that I loved the most.

But things were not always supportive. Few months back, while preparing for MDCAT, I had a fight with one of my close friends. After the test, I didn’t find her on my side to encourage me. Also, many of my relatives changed their behaviour. Those, who used to say good things about me, started talking behind my back. Someone said she sleeps too much. Someone said she travels too much. Someone said she is always busy on social media. Someone said she always gets good grades by luck, otherwise she doesn’t work hard and so on. Those few people who I believed would be with me were also found to change their attitude. It was quite difficult for me to move forward, and stand straight after finding such talks about me.

Thanks to those few who stood by my side: my family, best friends and few teachers. These are the people who fought for me, and I am blessed to have them. I know I am not a successful person at this point in time, but I do know that I am going to start all again, and this time I am going to do what I always wanted to. No matter what world says, one has to stand again, and one has to muster up courage.

The purpose of sharing my story is that in life everyone has to taste failure. And sometimes it seems next to impossible to get up and fight again when winds are unfavorable. But this is also an opportunity to stand up, meet, greet and defeat the challenges. And to say it loudly on the faces of those who change their behavior with you when failure comes: “Yes I know I’m failed, but I will not give up. No matter how many times I fall, I will stand up again. Say what you can say. And I will do what I can do.”

Failure is not a word, it’s a bruise. But what I learnt is that one should never compromise on one’s dreams. Now if I do BS (CS) or repeat MDCAT, I must focus on my dreams. No one wants to fail but the funny thing is that sometimes we need to taste failure to bring the spark of fight within us that would ultimately lead us to success.

Contributed by Wardah Noor

The writer is doing F.Sc (Pre-Medical). She is a bright student, who seeks to get doctorate degree first and then to become prime minister of Pakistan and serve the country.

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