Monday, September 14, 2009

Failing Forward

I was having a deep discussion with a close friend last week when the subject of our discussion touched on the topic of fear and failure. My friend asked me a very profound question "What is the worst case scenario that you will see yourself in?" Well, that question hit me like a tonne of bricks. It was one of those questions where I know is there but never really got around to asking, perhaps conveniently bypassing it.

As I was contemplating it, I told him that if I were to fail, I'll make sure that I come up with something else to make up for the gap that my failure would have created. I'd not just return to where I was and say "Boy, I should have just listened to them naysayers." The idea was to make sure that I'd go further and further towards my goal and each failure would be a push towards the success that I'm searching for.

My friend immediately replied "Failing Forward." I thought it sounded cool. So I googled the phrase and it is actually the title of a book written by Leadership guru John C. Maxwell about how to optimize each failure to achieve our success.

At present, I'm about to make a very important decision that may change the course of my life. Am I scared? OF COURSE, I AM! Am I excited? YES, too! (There's something about us humans who like to seek thrills in activities such as bungee jumping and climbing the KLCC Twin Towers with our bare hands to tell ourselves that: Yes! I am alive!) But I'm going for it even though I'm scared. That's what courage is. It is not the absence of fear. Rather it is doing something in spite of fear.

I'll finish with this quote by the Malaysian tycoon, Mr. Robert Kuok. He said as much as "she pai nai chen gong che mu" (translated as failure is the mother of success), he holds firmly that "chen gong nai she pai che mu" (translated as success is the mother of failure). Does it make sense to you?


  1. Maybe I had failed so many times in many things in life until now got no more feeling towards failure (^^.) I normal ? heheh.

  2. Hi Jennifer,

    We all fail every now and then. Even the most successful person has areas in his/her life which s/he fails in. Some successful people can't accept the fact that they were born a certain way and had to go to great lengths to change it. But they were still not happy. The late MJ is a perfect example.

    Most important is don't lose hope. Always believe for the best and strive for the best.