The other day, I was talking to a friend. She is building her own company from scratch and things aren’t looking too good. She is toiling away day and night to fix issues as and when they crop up. She has the support of a few trusted colleagues. Together, they are trying to turn their dreams into reality. As time passes by, things look even more bleak. They dodn’t know what they are doing wrong, they’ve tried everything (Yes ! Everything they possibly could).
My first instinct is to motivate my friend by saying something positive. Something along these lines :
“Making mistakes means that you’re trying” &
“If you don’t give up on getting there then you are not on the wrong road.”
But I don’t. It sounds cliched to my own ears and I am pretty sure she’s heard it all before. Many people must have tried to “help” her before me by saying :
“Don’t give up” ,
“Try, try and try again until you succeed”
“Rome wasn’t built in a day” or
“Success is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration.”
She must have been given countless pep talks, read all the positive quotes there are and then some. She is passionate, inspired and very meticulous with her plans. She sets time-bound goals and makes sure she achieves them. She doesn’t need anybody
to tell her to work harder, she already is ! The problem is that it isn’t working !
Haven’t we all been in a situation where no matter how hard we tried, no matter how much we sacrificed or how much energy we spent to achieve something, we still didn’t ?
We gave it our best, but apparently our best wasn’t good enough !
Does the fact that we didn’t triumph necessarily mean that we were half-hearted ? Does it point to the fact that we could have done something “more”?
Is it possible that the real reason was an external factor
beyond our control or sheer luck ? This makes me wonder, are there times WHEN WORK SIMPLY DOES NOT WORK ?
Times when the amount of our efforts are irrelevant ?
Times when the situation is not in our control ?
Times when our success is dependent on a host of factors, often not in our hands ?
Perhaps there are. Maybe when someone fails, we shouldn’t jump to the conclusion that their efforts were lacking. Maybe we should try to understand their situation first and then decide whether our “help” is actually helpful ! We should be open-minded about there being unforseeable circumstances or hurdles that simply cannot be overcome.
Perhaps there are also instances where failure is not so bad. Maybe failure is a harsh word that seeks to diminish our efforts. Maybe it isn’t failure at all ! Maybe when our carefully laid-out plans fall through despite our best efforts, we should stop blaming ourselves. Maybe we should grow and learn from the experience and walk along one step at a time – always moving forward. After all, don’t they always say :
“If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”