How My Failure Helps Me

How do you see failure? Is it frightening? In a society that values “success” dearly, it is usual to see individuals being driven by fear of failure. It’s quite unfair for “failure”.

I’d like to share my experience in my days as a Management Trainee in a dairy company. Long story short, a trainee, guided by a mentor, has to make a presentation about his/her project to the board of director and the board will decide whether he/she may continue to work for the company.

I did my first presentation quite well. The HR Director even gave me a favourable comment on my presentation. The presentation was a success and I started the next project at Operation Department with elevated self-esteem. “I did it once, I can do it again!” I thought. I received the brief for my second project and it was a little bit better than my fellow trainees’ project brief; it was well structured with clear targets and available resources. My path seemed to be filled with one fortunate event to another. Nothing seemed could have gone wrong. Never knew it could be so wrong.

After some weeks, I presented my progress to the Operation Director. The reception was ugly. He pointed out that my presentation was confusing and my project was substandard. Even my assigned mentor, who was at the same room that time, said that she did not expect that I was that incompetent. I guess it is not an exaggeration to say that the presentation session was soul crushing.

Now, this is the interesting point. By the time I wrote this post, about two months have passed, and I am near the end of my project. In retrospect, interestingly, that upsetting event I mentioned before were, in fact, beneficial for me. It raised an alarm; and it is a lot better to be alarmed than to be aware when it is already too late. For me, an alarm to warn me that I might not be as good as I thought and that I should not have underestimated this assignment. Furthermore, the event served me with helpful criticism. It pointed out weak points in my project and gave me clear idea on what I have to do; things I would not have known without that criticism. There was no longer shroud of confusion; it was clear that I was lost and the path to the right direction has been shown. And as a bonus, my mentor realized that she had been neglecting me, and thus she voluntarily scheduled weekly meeting with me to make sure my progress would be within her control.

That’s my experience. Failure might not be that frightening. It’s probably even there to help you. So, it might be nice to fear it less and view it in a brighter way. Learn from it! It’s a good teacher.

Share your thought in the comment section!

A photo of the surface around Main FEUI's Makara Fountain which I took last year around graduation period.
A photo of the surface around Main FEUI’s Makara Fountain which I took last year around graduation period.

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