dealing with failure


Although I had a topic in mind for last month’s post, i was too lazy or maybe, unmotivated to write the post, now that I am back at home and will be spending quite sometime here, I hope to make up for my uninspiring attitude.
Well, a lot has changed in a matter of few days, I have technically become a Mechanical Engineer. Yes, my technical courses have finished, I’ve done my time at Pilani and am now at home till December before I’ll have to go back for the last semester. I feel strange because, I feel disconnected with my degree at Pilani, coming back at home feels like coming back from an exile. Its time for picking up things where I had left them 3 years ago. I guess I was a better coder before coming to Pilani, and certainly Pilani hasn’t helped me much with the mechanical degree. So, I dont see any academic appraisal from my time at Pilani, not atleast in the most apparent manner. Yes, there are always trivial ways in which i got help and improvement, but all in all, its been one ride that cant be forgotten !
Yes, there is one thing that Ive learnt right from beginning at BITS. and it is Failure ! yes, its correct Failure. It starts from the beginning itself, getting admissions in BITS is sort of a failure of not getting into IITs. This is something that everyone can relate to. That’s how a BITSian journey starts, atleast in the Pilani campus, yea, its better to specify the campus as well, now we have our extended brothers as well, and we Pilani folks aren’t really fond of that. Students cribbing to each other that they wont be living the IIT dream they had been studying for the last 2-3 years. There are hardly people who are actually happy for getting into BITS, although I’m sure, after the 4 years, nearly all BITSians feel lucky to have graduated from BITS rather than from an IIT.
Although the changes that have happened have a lot to do with the emotional transition, and definitely I have a lot to say about that, but this post is about something else. I want to highlight how superficial failure has been part of my life since a last few years, and yes, it’s superficial, so if you know me in real life, and are wondering if things are fine in my life, then chill ! things have never been better ! So, superficial is really the keyword here.I really liked this post by Chris Dixon, where he talks about how the default state of startups is failure. I am not just saying it for my efforts with Photowalkrs, I can relate it to other things as well. He mentions a point that I guess you will also agree with, nobody likes change ! People expect the things to be the way they have been in the past, trying out at the cost of derailment from the course is something which is not encouraged. When one gets into a top tier engineering college, expectations are that the academic grades should never drop, because they hadn’t till now. Well, my case wasn’t so. So, it was the first and probably the most important, and somewhat regretful part of my time at BITS, but it wasn’t because of me suddenly becoming dumb after getting into BITS, it has been a slow process involving lot of variables. A lot of these variables are based on how I react and respond to the trends and priorities.But coming to the next , I was working with the Inspired Karters team till last year, for making the first formula styled racing car at BITS. It was pretty  much like working in a startup, we started from scratch and fabricated the computer designed structure and parts. We were working against all odds, and instead of supporting us, we were discouraged to make the effort, both from outside and inside the campus. We made the car and raced it at the National Contest, although we didnt win, but we didnt make the effort just for winning a race. It was more of a test to prove that we can build while managing everything else. Working with Photowalkrs has been a similar story till now, the challenges have somewhat increased though. There is a support team behind us, including our mentors and others, but a lot of people just dont get the idea why we should put our efforts into it ! well, atleast we are not falling into the pit of mediocrity, because we are atleast getting reviews, mostly positive but some negative as well. Here is what Seth Godin has to say about getting judged or getting ignored.I’m reading The On-Purpose Person, by Kevin W. McCarthy, and I can totally relate to the book. I would quote a phrase in the book that I had highlighted just for this post – “Not knowing who you are means there’s a built-in excuse for avoiding maturity. It has what looks like freedom and excitement, but it comes at the cost of an unsatisfying emptiness” I see a lot of my friends just wandering through this emptiness, and I am not saying it from a point that I’ve achieved so much that i can criticize other now, but its what has been my base for my decision or rather efforts to avoid that emptiness. Some have been just treading the path that they believe is destined for them, and a few just turn into pretension, claiming to a higher life with luxuries being the only motivator for their existence. I find these hypocrite bastards the most resentful. The most important thing is to have a purpose in life, ive been figuring out mine, atleast I have an interim one that I’m working with. It keeps me away on the course and away from a long term failure, although the short term ones are really demotivating, i must say !

At the end, I would like to say that I made the choices on my own, and I feel my conviction getting higher whenever I sit to contemplate about the decisions ive made till now. Sure, I could’ve continued doing what I had been doing since school, do well in studies, be a good person, keep everyone around you happy, don’t complain too much! But I chose to have detour, and in this process i have received a lot of criticism from lot of my friends. But I believe its better to do fight against odds and try converting failures into success, I guess we have already heard a lot of stories of the usual trend. Lets try to spin the clock other way this time.

  • Crisply put. I would agree with you on the act that in order to reach the shores of success we have to dive deeper into the ocean of failure. Awesome stuff.

  • well written and well said !