Dare to dream! | Sunday Observer

Dare to dream!

19 June, 2022

One who fears failure limits his activities. Failure is only the opportunity to more intelligently begin again - Henry Ford

Have you messed up your days or even your life because you made a mistake? All of us make mistakes, but we do not brood over them. When you take a critical step towards your goal you are bound to make mistakes. Sometimes we pour our hearts into something important for years.

I knew of a vice principal of a well-known college who tried nine times to become a lawyer. His biggest hurdle was to pass the final examination in laws leading to the Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree.

He sat the final examination eight times and got through in the ninth attempt. He had a dream to become an Attorney-at-Law and he realized it.

You may have heard of James Gosling who co-invented the flexible, adaptable computer language - Java. Gosling and colleagues developed Java in the early 1990s and they wanted to sell the program to telephone and cable companies.

However, the companies treated the new program as a potential threat to their business. In the meantime the Web quickly caught on to its advantages. Soon Java became a hit among programmers.

If you happen to read scientific journals, you will find most of the articles are on sadness. Occasionally, you will find one article on happiness.

During the past 50 years psychologists and psychiatrists became pretty successful at diagnosing and treating mental illnesses. Most of them failed to pay attention to what makes people happy or fulfilled.

Martin Seligman was one of the few people who worked in the field of abnormal psychology and paid much attention to research, optimism and positive emotion. He is now known as the founder of the ‘Positive Psychology’ movement. His book ‘Learned Optimism’ remains a classic.

Diverting attention

When once met with failure, most of us stop trying. However, there are people who keep on trying new things after failure in one line of activity. After failure do not tell yourself that you are no good at it.

The best course of action should be to try something once, and when it does not produce good results, divert attention to something different. According to psychologists and top scientists, failure is nothing to fear. Not only is it inevitable but it is also an indispensable ally. Gosling says, “Failure is a good thing. If everything you try is successful, it means you are playing it safe; you are not out on the edge. Failure means that you’re learning.”

All our dreams are closely connected with happiness. Rich people have a higher level of happiness and poor people have a lower level of happiness.

A poor man is happy when his basic needs are fulfilled. A rich man has a desire for extra wealth. As a result he will never be happy. Even Buddhism promotes the idea that you should be happy with what you have. In other words, it is contentment. We should not fall into the category of materialistic people who are never happy.

Nobel Prize-winning chemist John Polanyi was asked whether he had experienced failure in his career. He said, “I have failed a million times.” Failure is the price of success. Even if you follow a well-designed plan, you will fail to achieve your target.

The good news is that after many failures, you stumble on an unanticipated success which will bring immense happiness. Unlike ordinary people, scientists dare to dream. They will never achieve anything worthwhile if they fear failure.

Opportunity to learn

What is true for science and technology is true for business. You may have heard of Kenneth Rowe who owned an airline, a marine supply business and a hotel in Moscow, Russia. His IMP Group International Inc. employed 4,000 people.

However, he had not been successful all the time. For instance, his hotel in Moscow became the object of a very expensive dispute with its local partners. He never thought it was a failure, but an opportunity to learn. He has proved the point that even successful people fail frequently.

If you follow his example, you will not shrink from failure. According to psychologists, you experience different feelings when you fail. Naturally, you feel humiliated and disappointed. Nobody wants to experience such feelings.

Those who dare to dream should not be afraid of failure. They should learn from those who have failed and later succeeded in life. Those who have succeeded in life know how to handle failure. Failure becomes something to achieve instead of something to avoid.

In other words, embrace failure! Go out and try to fail as many times as possible. You should remember that failure is not the opposite of success. Failure is a kind of ingredient. Many people aspire to become writers, lawyers or scientists. However, only a few would succeed. Others give up their attempts.

Nina Spencer, author of ‘Getting Passion out of your Profession,’ says, “You go through certain stages in life. At first, you do not know what your skills are. When you get to know your skills, you are incompetent to perform them. As long as you improve your skills slowly but steadily, you will achieve success. The secret of success is not to give up the struggle.

Social animal

Those who dare to dream do not work in isolation. Man is a social animal and he has to work with others. Those who spend a lot of time with their peers and colleagues report a higher level of happiness. Those who spend a lot of time alone generally report a much lower level of happiness.

If you are not overcome by fear of failure, your life will not be confined to a goal. Then a miracle happens and your energies begin to flow in all directions with no fear. When there is no fear of failure, there is no frustration. Then each moment will be endowed with intrinsic value. If you fail once, follow the natural behaviour of some creatures.

Spiders try to weave a web several times and finally succeed. Cats hunt mice. If they are not successful in one attempt, they simply go after another. They do not complain about the one that got away, nor do they have a nervous breakdown. Apply the same logic to your life and never be afraid of the fear of failure.

The act of failing in some project or venture simply means that you are human. If you have never failed at anything, you have never really tried anything.

In the words of the Roman philosopher Seneca, “If thou art a man, admire those who attempt great things, even though they fail.” The secret of successful living is to rise above your failures. Forget your errors, stop grieving over them and have compassion for your own human fallibility.

Whenever you try to do something new, you are bound to make mistakes. Admit them freely and learn how to minimize them.

Taking risks

There are certain factors that cause you to fail. One factor is your unwillingness to take risks. Responsible risk taking is based on knowledge, training, careful study and competence. Do not follow the farmer who did not plant wheat because he was afraid it would not rain.

He also did not plant corn because he was afraid insects would destroy it. What happens finally is quite obvious. He planted nothing by playing it safe.

Fear of failure is less entrenched in business circles in developed countries. As Stewart Thornhill who holds the Colnett-Love Fellowship in entrepreneurship at the University of Western Ontario’s Richard Ivey School of Business in Canada says, “Having failure on your record is almost a badge of honour. You’ve been thrown once but you can get up and go on being a cowboy elsewhere. It is much more a black mark.”

For those who dare to dream, the seeds of success always flourish best in the well-turned soil of failure. As Charles Kettering, inventor of the modern electric ignition system for cars said, “Failures, repeated failures, are finger-posts on the road to achievement – one fails forward towards success.” [email protected]