I was speaking to Dee couple of days back. I was exhausted after a twenty two hour take-home exam*, and was trying to catch some sleep in the afternoon, when she called. She sounded so excited and happy. Now, even in my zombie state, I know that you don’t hang-up on someone, especially if they call you when they are happy. Thats the worst thing you could do. So, I listened. She spoke. And whilst she spoke, I realized something. The last time I remember Dee being so happy was when she realized her dream and shifted from Mumbai to D.C. and got married. So, that led me to thinking.. Do we need failures to breed phenomenal successes?
1. Would Muhammad Ali have become the greatest if the US government hadn’t stripped him of his title at the peak of his career? He was humiliated and banned from own sport. Sacrilege! But four years later, he went on to show the world by winning the World Heavyweight championship. Twice. And inspired hundreds of thousands of people.
2. Lance Armstrong. Had he not fought through chemotherapy and almost died, would he have come back and become the only person in history to win the Tour De France seven times?
3. Steve Jobs. Got fired from his own company, Apple, at the age of thirty. He said it himself at the Stanford commencement speech,
“I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”
In retrospect, I’m glad I failed too. One year of failure taught me the value of success. I doubt I’d have gotten to where I am without that failure. Same with Dee. So, if you haven’t faced great failure yet, beware! And if you have, welcome to the club of awesome.
Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.
~ Sir Winston Churchill
*(Prof. AD, well done! You for sure made my head hurt. Seriously, when you said it took you only four hours to solve the paper, you should have mentioned the standard deviation on that was eighteen fucking hours. )