Site hosted by Build your free website today!
Failure is just an opinion.

Joan F. Marques - MBA, Doctoral Student
Burbank, California- December, 2002

The two years of hard work and dedicated studying had flown by. Stan knew that he had been a model student and that nothing could go wrong in the final stages he was now entering, given his serious work attitude. Orals: An easy walkover for a student of his caliber. As long as you followed the guidelines of your instructor, made sure the paper you would defend was your own work, and incorporated your coursework, you would be fine. That's what they said.

Stan failed his exam. Of all people! Devastated was an understatement to express how he felt.
Maybe "defeated" came closer. Or "a serious state of self doubt." Countless emotions were fighting to take front seat in Stan's mind. And at least as many questions: Where did he go wrong? What could he have improved? Should he have prepared even more than he did (as if that would be possible)? Stan had followed all the rules, given a bit more than his all in the preparation process, and had his instructor review and re-review his paper before accepting the green light for submission to the examination committee.

Stan's tragedy has overcome most of us at one time or another, and in one form or another. Whether it was during and entrance or exit interview; a driver license, CPA or social worker's test: the overwhelming awareness of having failed has caught us somewhere down the line and left us a wee or an enormous bit less secure about ourselves and the world around us.

Yet, failure is but a subjective perception. First of all: if your failing results from an interview, you have to realize that the ones on the other side of the table may have formed themselves an idea about you that can ruin your entire future for as far as it depends on them. It's just a moment in your life, but the ones who have the power in that particular moment can decide whether it will be a glorious or a traumatic one. If you succeed you will praise whatever you believe in, and gain trust and confidence in the world. But if you fail, the questioning will start, and, depending on your personality, the consequential anger, depression, withdrawal, or...perseverance!

What you should realize in both cases is that the outcome only partially depends on your performance. A great deal of the result lies in the hands of the ones who judge you: their moods, their perceptions, their ideologies, and the political games they play. If, for instance, you were referred to your interviewer by a mutual friend, you have a good chance to be successful, even if your performance during the interview is not at star level. But if you were referred or supported by someone your interviewer has a problem with, you may have unconsciously been maneuvered in a very bad position. And your knowledge, preparation, bright smile, persuasive talents, charms, and eloquence won't do anything for you.

So, that's the trouble with oral interviews. But what about written tests where no one sees you and, hence, cannot determine whether they like you or not? How can that be justified if you fail after thorough preparation? Actually, it cannot. The only positive to take away from this experience is that you may not have been ready for the opportunity you were pursuing, or that there is something better in store for you. Or maybe you should just realize that this unpleasant experience is a disguised providential strategy to make you stronger: Not necessarily destined to make you fall, but rather to force you to get up and stand taller.

Agreed: it's not easy to look at failure this way when you’re confronted with it at this very moment. But once you've managed to take some distance to the issue you'll hopefully agree. Failure is just an opinion. In the first place by you, the one who experiences it. It hurts. It makes you feel unworthy. It makes you wonder about yourself. But it also creates the possibility for you to get to know yourself better...if you allow that.

So, here's something I would like to give you to carry with you from now on:

"My dear friend you should know
That failing is a way to grow
And, though at times it may not feel so
It allows you your strengths to show

My dear friend, you should be aware
That failing can be everyone's share
And that no matter how much we care
Failure will force us to live and to dare

My dear friend, you should realize
That failing is sometimes merely a disguise
Of a magnificent, gratifying future prize
And a guarantee of life's spectacular spice

My dear friend, please know above all
That failing does not just mean you fall
But more: that you get up and learn to stand tall
Conquering every hurdle, climbing every wall

My dear friend, failing is but a perception
Subjective by nature, or by human deception
Your dealing with failure will make you an exception
Leading to a higher stage - and its inception

My dear friend, yes, failing is a bitter pill
That has been known many weak ones to kill
But also for shaping the ones with strong will
To redefine for themselves how life to fulfill..."