The big ‘F’ word

Dear Ian and Wayne,

Right now, Ian is in the midst of preparation for the Semester Assessment for Primary 2. Why is there a need to prepare? So that you do not fail. Duh! And there is a lot of pressure on you to not fail.

In life, everyone is so geared towards success, and everyone shy away from failure like a plague. But the most ‘successful’ people knows the value of failure in the success they attained. But in Singapore, especially in Singapore, failure is a big no,no. I’m sure when I made that remark, it has become a sweeping statement, I’m sure in other countries and cultures, people have a certain distaste for failures too. I’m saying Singapore, in specifics is due to the fact that I live here, you boys will probably grow up and die here. You boys might have children who will be primarily exposed to this Singaporean society. And in our tiny island state, we are all so hyped to become super achievers, nobody wants to be seen as a loser, failure.

So failure is a big no, no. To fail is to be finished.

Why?

There is this allure of success, Somehow people are always drawn to success, but they are not so drawn to the process of becoming successful, In this world of instant gratification, this problem is more acute. So we have a lot of good folks, lying, cheating and stealing, in an attempt to evade failure and short cut their way to success. Failure will always catch up, It is cyclical, No one is a permanently a failure, and no one is permanently a success. This hasn’t change since humans became self-aware, and I don;t think it will change in you day and time.

Failure is the process of becoming successful, there is no short cut, you got to fail, fail and fail some more to eventually become successful, And when you become successful after all those failures, you will, eventually learn to appreciate and respect the true, albeit intangible value of success.

The point is this, don’t get too caught up in the ‘imposters’ Success and Failure, taking a loose quote from Rudyard Kipling,  Life is never personal, life do not give a rat’s ass about your success and failures, and more often than not, the proverbial success you seek is just around the corner of your biggest ‘failure’. The thing to remember, boys, is to continue, motion in life is paramount. Don’t get stuck in failing, just as much as don’t get stuck in your successes.

But I want you boys to embrace failure more than success, Failure is a great liberator, there is a creative energy in failing, most creative people fail, and they carry on like its part of their lives, Socially accepted successful people are creative, and they do not make clear distinction between success and failures, what’s the point? The world is round and one follows the other, in a simplistic process life is like ‘Success-failure-success-failure-success-failure…’, They are comfortable in both domains because they know both are 2 of the same. You have to become comfortable with the multitudes of failures, before you can be comfortable with one event of success. Life is that irony, if you fear failure, success will elude you too, and in life, you will fail more than you succeed, so get used to it.

Failure is never fatal, it is the ego that kills. Similarly, when you succeed in your goals, you will more likely to become stuck, because you want more success, and to fail will seem to downgrade your status from successful to less successful, to failure. It is ok to fail, Don’t let the big ‘F’ word get a hold on you, just as much as you do not let the big ‘S’ word stroke your ego so much that you get addicted to it.

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