How great leaders overcome failureFebruary 2, 2022 2022-02-02 9:14
How great leaders overcome failure
How great leaders overcome failure
“If you haven’t failed you haven’t tried hard enough.”
We have been hearing this since ages, but let’s twist this quote by Jennifer Crusie.
“If you haven’t failed you haven’t experimented enough.”
Failures aren’t necessarily your worry if you are working within your comfort zone doing the same thing everyday. But if you have been experimenting then failures are inevitable. And as it goes in scientific research, a negative result is just a hypothesis validation.
It is absolutely true that failures are hard to deal with in a society that glorifies 100% grades rather than the learning itself. Very early on in life, we are subject to competition and judgement without getting a second chance to prove ourselves if we fall short or fail. You cant go back and re-run the race you came last in. You cannot rewrite the exam you didn’t score well in. And hence we have the practice of treating failures to meet expectations as a verdict of total failure. We were not given a chance to try again, and so, we believe none exists in real life too.
- Failure as learning
Genius leaders have a very strong sense of learning. Every person they meet, every book they read is a source of learning, and so are failures. Failures are one of the most inspiring lessons for any leader. And by putting those failures to good use he charges ahead in life to greater things.
- Too old school for instant gratification
Great leaders are still beyond the culture of instant gratification. They believe in long term goals and hence their motivation doesn’t falter with failure. They are the most long sighted people who aim for success that lasts and hence failures become just a no-entry zone in their journey. They either figure out a way around or fix the zone and carry forward their purpose.
- Failures as mirror
Do you know the mirror that leaders carry around? Failures! Failures reflect their shortcomings and make them aware of where they are. Knowing their current stance they are able to modify their existing ways and charge forward with renewed enthusiasm. Great leaders take a good look at their failures and become aware of what needs to be done in order to realize their purpose.
Before Gandhiji successfully executed the ‘Salt March’ he went through ten years of failed marches, such that he regarded himself as A Himalayan Miscalculation*. His early boycott marches in 1919 against the unjust Rowlatt Acts went out of control after a small success and led to the massacre at Amritsar leaving thousands of Indians dead. It was these failures that made him change his strategy of protests and when the opportunity arose in 1930, he gathered 60-80 of his closest disciples for the Salt March rather than the entire country. This further paved the way for India’s independence in 1947.
As sour as failures may taste, if you adapt well enough they leave you with a lingering taste that always reminds you of the experiences you have gained and how you overcame an obstacle with your grit and determination.
Failure is an ally hidden beneath the cloak of an enemy.
- In March 1918, Gandhiji led a satyagraha for a peasants of Kheda. While in April, he appealed for a nationwide hartal protecting the enactment of the barbarous Rowlatt Act. However violence broke out and for the first time Gandhiji had to suspend the satyagraha calling it a Himalayan miscalculation.