Failure just means you have tried

It took me a long time to figure out how to begin this blog post. I was so afraid of failing by writing some boring drivel that would immediately cause any reader to reach hurriedly for the search bar. The same fear has prevented me from posting anything since November last year, and before that 2013.

I have missed the fervour and enthusiasm I once delighted in when I posted regularly during my academic years and had great confidence in my writing ability. I had no fear of sharing my views and took intense delight in observing that my blog was reaching people in multiple locations across the globe.

Today, my anxiety has been bubbling away under the surface, manifesting itself through a shaking feeling, difficulty in concentrating and chest pain. But I wasn’t going to let it get the better of me.

Instead, I grabbed hold of it and used it to spur me on push myself outside my comfort zone. This was the first time I have encountered a positive experience of anxiety. Normally, I have allowed it to consume me and have spiraled into a full-blown anxiety attack.

Today was different. Some recent well-received advice was strongly manifesting itself in my mind. Embrace failure because all it means is that you have tried. If you don’t try you are already failing. It is my hope that in sharing this wisdom I will encourage others, for I feel my main aim in life is to enhearten others.

Failure does not have to be a bad thing. Just as I used my anxiety today to push myself, failure can be used as a steppingstone. It is in fact success if we learn from it.

I will close now by sharing with you some famous “failures” to give you some motivation and inspiration to keep on trying.

Oprah Winfrey, a lady dear to my heart for the insight she has given to me for meditation, was fired from her job co-anchoring the 6pm news at Baltimore’s WJZ. She was supposedly “unfit for television”.

Today, the admirable philanthropist is worth $3 billion. She could have simply given up when an assistant news editor told her she would be fired for “involving herself in other people’s stories” after she helped a family whose house caught on fire by providing them with blankets. Instead, she stayed true to her heart by continuing to involve herself in other people’s lives and allowed failures to be steps towards success.

At just 15 years of age, Jack Andraka had an idea to create a diagnostic test for pancreatic cancer better than those developed by scientists, research labs and major pharmaceutical companies.

He wrote a proposal to develop a superior test. He was rejected by 199 research laboratories. Fortunately he did not abandon his dream, and the 200th research lab — at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore — accepted him. There he successfully developed a test 100 times better and 26,000 times less expensive than the current test and will save thousands of lives.

In her own words, JK Rowling found that she had failed on an epic scale: “An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless.” After penning Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in Edinburgh cafes whilst she and her daughter scarped by on benefits, 12 publishers rejected her manuscript before she was accepted by Bloomsbury.

At Harvard’s June 2008 graduation class, J.K. Rowling spoke eloquently of failures:  “You might never fail on the scale I did. But it is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default.”

So here’s to a life not without failure, but one in which we try and do not allow the fear of failure ensnare us.


  1. Merci beaucoup pour cet article !!! Ca fait toujours du bien de lire ça et c'est toujours un plaisir de te lire.

    A très bientôt dans la semaine ;)


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