How many of us remember the India V/s Bangladesh cricket match at the World Cup 2015? I guess many do. We remember it not for the match but for the extreme lack of sportsman spirit displayed by the Bangladesh team and supporters. However, their behavior inspired a question in me. Who is responsible for our failures? Whom do we blame for not succeeding in our endeavors? Most of us will answer the question saying we have none to blame but ourselves. However if we were to introspect on our individual reactions after a defeat, an answer contrary to the statement mentioned above will emerge. After each and every one of our failure, we find an excuse to blame it onto. I couldn’t succeed because I was sick. I couldn’t succeed because there were a lot of disturbances. I couldn’t succeed because they cheated. These are some of the many statements we make after failures. Not all of them are excuses and some of them really happen. However, the proportion of those not excuses is very low. Further, deep in our hearts most of us know what the fact is. We just don’t want people to undervalue our hard work.
I have had a lot of failures in my life and many times I’ve found some person or event to blame it onto. However, when I saw the Bangladeshis weeping and blaming the umpires, they reminded me of myself. Then I made this decision. The next time I fail, I would blame it on myself. Yes, even if I feel someone else is the cause of my failure, I would blame myself. Even if it were for a stroke of ill luck, I would blame myself. Even if someone had actually cheated, I would blame myself. I would blame myself and tell myself to raise the bar even higher.
The Pole Vault Analogy
The concept discussed here is quite inconvenient to believe in at first. After all, why should one blame oneself for something the occurrence of which was not under his/her control? Hence in order to further elucidate the concept, I have come up with the pole vault analogy.
Imagine the goal you have set out to accomplish is like the beam on a pole vaulting setup. In order to accomplish your goal; you have to make a jump higher than the beam. However, you were unable to successfully complete the jump. Let us articulate a few reason for your failure to successfully complete the jump.
Case 1: Incomplete preparation
This is the most common of the cases. You are not able to make the jump because you were jittery on the day of the trial, maybe nervous or maybe your current skill level was not sufficient to clear the bar. Whatever may be the case, it can be explained on account of lack of practice. Had you practiced hard enough, you would had felt at ease and not jittery or nervous. Similarly, with sufficient level of practice, you would have been able to lift your skill to a level that you would have cleared the bar.
Case 2: Faulty Tools
That’s no excuse. If you really practice hard, the tools would feel like an extension of your arm and you would be able to spot even the slightest of abnormality. In the case of pole value, the tool would be your vaulting pole. You can’t say that the pole was faulty. If you would have practiced sufficiently to overcome your goal, you would have known that the pole was faulty as soon as you picked it up. So even if the pole wasn’t faulty, you still wouldn’t have made it. So no point complaining, the fault is yours.
Case 3: Biased Results
Yes the organizers might have a favorite whom they want to win. However, an impressive performance can’t be ignored howsoever biased the organizers may be. As a matter of fact, many times people are looking for an excuse to reject people with recommendations. Hence you failed not because someone emerged as favorite, but because your performance was not strong enough to attract the attention of people. So what should you do? Practice and more practice.
Stated above are just a few of examples. However, they were sufficient to elucidate the point that If we clearly analyze the reason behind our failures, we would find that failures can be attributed to lack of hard work only. Whatever be the apparent reason, the real reason always remains the same. We just have to accept the real reason and move forward with it. If we do so, success will be ours, if not today then tomorrow.