What is failure?


For a while now, I have been pondering over failure. Does failure really exist? Or is it the result of doing something that you are not cut out to do rather than what you are?

So I take an exam in Biology and completely flunk it while I make top grades in a Literature paper. I know for a fact that I will rather be an Arts student than a Science student. Did I really fail Biology? Or my grades were as a result of my abilities? Is it possible that I could have burnt the midnight oil to come out with a pass grade?

Judging a fish by its ability to climb a tree - What is failure


You see, I have been thinking a lot about this because of the message of motivational speakers (no offence, but they just got me thinking).

“You can do it!”

“You can be anything you want!”

“Hardwork and determination can get you there!”

Is this really true? Can I? Can you? If you know my personality (quiet on most occasions, a chatterbox around those I am most comfortable around) you will probably agree with me that I will suck at being an MC. Assign me as the MC for your wedding reception and you will have your guests nodding off in no time. Or will they really? Should I be so determined to prepare for that day by reading tips and putting in hours of practice or should that role be left to people with personalities of KSM, Kwame Sefa Kayi, Kafui Dey and the like? Am I being lazy when I tell you I can’t do it or should I be “determined” and “work hard” to be an outstanding MC? Can hours of reading and practice put me on the same level as a sanguine or I will fall short of the standard no matter how hard I try?

I am beginning to feel there is a thin line between being lazy about putting in the hardwork and determination to get to the top versus being unable to do something because charley, you just can’t do it. But like every thin line, it is hard to get a clear picture of where one state ends and where the other state begins.

Let me open a more personal chapter just because I think it is a very relevant example. No, you don’t need to be sorry for me because I do not feel sorry for myself 🙂

While in my final year in the university, there was a lot of talk (and there still is ) about becoming an entrepreneur because “there are no jobs”. I always argued that not everyone can be an entrepreneur so some people can go on to start their companies and create jobs for others. Somewhere along the line, I believed the  lie  motivational messages that I can be anything I want to be. I decided I can be an entrepreneur after all. I am smart enough and with sufficient training, I can definitely make it. So I went on to apply to be trained as an entrepreneur. Don’t get me wrong, I learnt amazing things during my two-year training. In fact, I believe this training was of such high quality that I finally believed I was not being lazy after all when I thought I was not cut out to be an entrepreneur. I just did not have that entrepreneurial juice – that “takashi” heart. I was in a class of true entrepreneurs who grabbed every opportunity to make money  while I sat by my computer and followed the rules by reading entrepreneurial books and submitting my assignments. Eventually, I realized I was good at giving relevant perspective to my friends who were running their companies. I was that person who saw beyond the excitement entrepreneurs are known to have and point out intrinsic details that are usually missed. I seemed to be pessimistic in the face of all the entrepreneurial optimism but in truth, the detailed analysis I provided did help. Hehe.

So here I am, not an entrepreneur but with a gift/skill that every entrepreneur needs in their company. So I am not that bad after all. 🙂 Or am I? Have I failed by not becoming an entrepreneur after my training? Should I go on with hardwork and determination to become an entrepreneur at all cost because I can be anything I want to be? Or should I do what I can naturally do such as providing business analysis services to entrepreneurs?

Am I being lazy and just determined to remain in my comfort zone or am I pursuing my passion and not being a square peg in a round hole?

Does failure really exist or is it that happening which occurs when you have been wandering in the desert to find food when you have food in your pocket?

Really, what is failure?

I wish I had answers.