Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is one of the most celebrated basketball players in basketball history. He is 7 feet 2 inches tall and is known the world over for working in the Bruce Lee movie, “The Game of Death”. He is also an author, and inspirational leader. His quote, “You can’t win unless you learn how to lose” has profound meaning and has been a source of inspiration for millions of sportspersons and people, who stumble and face failures on their journey to success.
Why Failures are Necessary in Life
It is often said that failures are the stepping stones to success. It is with good reasons too. It is humanely impossible to get success every time and in every attempt. That would make life very predictable and easy. In fact, it would take the challenge out of life and make life drab and dreary. It might be a punishment for many who look at life as exciting and thrilling. If there are only wins in life, then we get deprived of the joy that comes from winning after losses.
Another aspect is that learning will not take place without committing errors. One only learns from the mistakes that he commits. Learning from failures make individuals understand where they have gone wrong. They also prevent individuals from repeating their mistakes again in future. By showcasing our weakness and incompetence, failures make us more refined in our skills and abilities.
Learning from our Failures and Mistakes
Human beings are not perfect. The only way to reach the higher levels of human development and performance is to continue the pursuit of excellence. Accepting the failures helps us grow as individuals and makes us stronger and more resourceful. As someone wise once said, “I never lose. I either win or learn a new lesson.” Seen in this light, it becomes apparent at one glance that learning from failure is the only way to success. People, who do not make mistakes, are the ones who never tried anything new. The Bhagvad Gita says the ultimate aim of life is to acquire “kaushala” or ultimate skill in our own vocations. Learning to be better is a constant endeavour. Learning from failure is a powerful way to get the knowledge and skill first hand, as it is experiential learning. Once you face it and experience it yourself, you are not likely to forget the lesson.
When you look at the life of any great man, you will find the setbacks and failures that they faced initially. Success never came in a platter. There are only a few exceptional people may be, who tasted success without making any mistakes or facing failures. As a matter of fact, those who did not face failures were the ones who disintegrated at the first onslaught of adversity. Whereas those, who had kept learning from failures; were the ones who kept winning after losing.
The value of losing should be taught to children in their formative years. What is important is to get up again after being knocked out. To accept defeat as a part of life and growing up, is what will strengthen them. It will give them the confidence and perseverance to carry on in their mission of life. Instead of deterring and de-motivating them, it will become a source of learning.
Winning and losing is very much a part of the game called life. Failures should not be considered a dirty word, but a learning to go at it again with more resources than earlier. Losing makes us more resilient to withstand more stress and adverse situations. Losing is what adds more lustre and shine to the victories.
Written By: Priya Singh