Everybody has their own story to tell, some are good and some are bad. Yet, how often do we hear people regretting their choices in life in general? How often do we hear ourselves uttering the words “if only”? How much experience do we really need to learn from our mistakes? A lot, perhaps.
We are humans and we err.
At times, when failure is on our doorsteps and we are consistently living in denial, life knocks us down so we can see it from a different perspective. There is a turning point in our lives when we finally say “enough,” because we need to move forward. We cannot just stay in the mess and miss all that life has in store for us.
Life is a Learning Institution
They say, “there are no accidents” in life. Whatever mishaps we have right now could be the result of our choices – career failure, financial difficulties, relationship frustrations etc. All of these challenges can break us if we do not pull ourselves together.
Think about this: We are and cannot be the first nor the last person in the “Failures Department.” Have we not heard and read hundreds of articles, about leaders like Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg and the like? Have we not learned how they went through their individual challenges, how they worked hard to succeed? Look at the people around you– your high school classmate, who is now a successful banker, a recently promoted hardworking colleague, or your stay-at-home neighbor who now runs her own startup company.
Indeed, there are people around us who serve as cautionary tales of how near we are to failing or losing it completely, if we do not embrace change. Moreover, when we reach the point of exhaustion with our personal disappointments, we are more likely to open ourselves up. Little did we realise that that is a perfect time for us to start embracing life’s lesson that yes, there is also a graduation day for our failures.
That Who Holds the Steering Wheel
For those who are learning how to drive, you know that your instructor sits right next to you in the passenger seat. Your ultimate goal is to pass your driving tests for you to obtain your license. Compliance to traffic rules and your adherence to your guide’s instructions are required. You may have the control of the vehicle but your passenger is leading the way.
You feel that you are doing the best you can but you still could not pass your final test. You have seen your scorecard. You thought that your failures are too simple to deem the whole exercise a failure. But is it really the case? Have you been listening to their guidance, no matter how simple it may seem? If you have exhausted all your reasons and believe that, their reasons for failing you are beyond logic, think hard. What is ahead of you is your life and other people’s safety: will you be able to protect yourself from causing or being involved in a road accident? Will you be able to drive safely?
Remember that there are and always will be people in our lives who are good at being passengers. They can guide us on the ways they know the best or the easiest way to reach our ultimate destination. Those who care deeply about us will guide us throughout.
Consider our workplace. Those who work full time in the offices, those who spend considerable amount of time with their colleagues, know exactly how it feels like to be down sometimes. Our colleagues’ simple advice becomes our guide in situations we feel we cannot or do not control. Like me, you may have received some insightful advices over the years like the below:
Speak your mind, do not be afraid to be heard. You too have a voice.
When we lost our confidence to share opinions, we have to remember that even the hearing-impaired communicate through sign language. So why keep a potentially valuable idea to yourself?
The day I stopped asking you about your work is the same day I stopped caring about you.
When frustrated with consistent follow-ups from your colleagues take a deep breath and evaluate the situation. Could it be that you are not giving your best, missing your deadlines and deliver mediocre work? Why not consider the possibility that compromised work delivery is a mark on your performance, and a blemish to the team’s performance as a whole? Would this make you feel good about yourself? Absolutely not!
Nobody is indispensable.
When complacency sets in, think about those who are unemployed. Hundreds of people want to be in your position. If you lack the initiative to do more than your regular duties and responsibilities and grow within the company, do you think that they would prefer to retain mediocrity or rather employ someone who shows the drive to deliver above expectation? If you were the Management, what would you do?
You are your own work.
A company is not a place for pettiness, that when competition is too high, one will give way to jealousy, a dangerous behaviour that could sabotage your career. If you are experiencing such an issue, it is imperative that you compose yourself and bring tap into your corporate maturity. Realize the fact that Management does not have the time to babysit nor tolerate childishness. Prove that they hired a professional.
So there you have it. There are indeed many advices we can take note of everyday. However, as drivers of our own lives, we have the opportunity to listen and follow our passenger guide’s lead. Take the advice on board or stumble through life making our own mistakes. The choice is ours. Whatever choice you selected, just make sure you learn from the mistakes – whether they are your “guides” or your own.
This article is initially posted on my LinkedIn profile.