My children, life is meant not only for winners, but for losers as well. Usually people think and speak only about their successes and their achievements. But to gain any real, lasting achievement, we need to pay more attention to and think about our failures as well. We like to take the credit for our achievements, thinking that they are due to our efficiency and our abilities, while we blame our co-workers and others for our failures.
It is human nature to claim that others are responsible for our failures, saying that had they only heeded our advice, everything would have been all right. All this is due to us having the wrong attitude about failure.The very fact that a person has met with failure proves that he has taken up a challenge, that he has been adventurous. Any action provides a challenge. Learning to drive, climbing a mountain, writing an examination, going deep-sea fishing or even for a toddler to learn how to walk is a challenge. In every task there is a certain amount of adventure involved. Whenever a task is undertaken, success and failure follow like a shadow. So sometimes we succeed and other times we fail.
We shouldn’t be afraid of failure. If we are afraid, we will never be able to succeed, we won’t gain anything out of life. That is why we should encourage and support the losers as well. We encourage someone in order to inspire them and to remove their fear of failure. In sports and games, the loser is often given a consolation prize, which is meant to encourage them. Encouragement is beneficial in every way.
The world belongs to the vanquished as well as the victor. Knowing this, we should be forgiving and bear with those who fail. We should give them every opportunity to try again. To be patient and forgiving is like applying grease to an engine. Patience and forgiveness encourage a person to move forward with renewed strength. The effect of our forbearance is like the power of gravity, which, though invisible, is experienced by everyone. Let us give those who have failed every opportunity to try again and again.
Don’t write anyone off just because he or she may have failed once for that would be an even bigger failure on our part. Opportunities should be available not only for the triumphant, but also for the fallen. Nowadays only the victors are given recognition, while the losers are often ridiculed. But instead of ridiculing the losers, we should encourage them. People are enthusiastic only if they are given the encouragement they need.
Life is meant for the courageous and adventurous, not for those who are pessimistic or afraid of failure. The greatest failure in life is to expect victory in every single situation. Spirituality teaches us this principle. Only when we live with this understanding is any new creation possible. By new creation Amma means giving birth to a new, really positive generation.
The writer is a world-renowned spiritual leader and humanitarian