Learn to fail


A few weeks ago I had a talk with some Youth Corpers. One of them wanted my help with something she was meant to do on her own. I am not going to rat her out but this was not some small thing where she just needed some advice or guidance. It was going to be as good as cheating and I was not going to do it.

I said; “Learn to fail.” They all looked at me like I was high and were saying “this is Nigeria; we have to help ourselves,” and I said anyone who helps them cheat is not helping them. This is not some moral high ground nonsense or hypocrisy; I do not encourage nor support cheating to get ahead whether it is at work, at school or anywhere else. It is wrong. We are so afraid and ashamed of failure we will even cheat over things we could easily do on our own. Then when we win, we start to talk about working hard and thanking God and yet we are lying.

Many see failure as a plague and yet everyone in life has failed at one thing at some point. It does not have to be the same thing. Relationships and marriages have failed. Folks have failed tests, exams and interviews. People have gotten fired at jobs over failing to meet with targets or something else. Investments have failed and so have plans to travel or do one thing or the other.

Failure is failure, but it is nothing to lose your mind or life over. Take it for what it is and learn from it. That is all you need to do.

It is funny how people like Aliko Dangote, Strive Masiyiwa, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and other people in the world today we all look up to can admit and share failures they have had in business and education, some even in marriage, but we are ashamed of it and turn it into philosophy and religion to make us and other feel better and less upset. Be upset if you want to be. Just learn from it.

A friend of mine one messed up a business deal. She was just in tears. She was going to lose money and the contract. She was ashamed of herself for not being serious about it, wasting another good opportunity, tarnishing her reputation, and spoiling a good working relationship.

I did not sugar coat it. I said hey you messed up. But what are you going to do about it? I don’t mean just apologising to people, now. I mean what are YOU going to do about it so that it does not happen again? I gave her some hard truth that made her cry more but she understood and appreciated, then I prayed for her. The one that hit her the most, aside telling her about her need for attitude and commitment change, was that all her crying was useless and a waste if it led to nothing.

I said you can cry from now till tomorrow; if you do nothing about it you will be back here in a week, a month or a year having once again wasted another chance and ruined more relationships. So don’t just cry. Cry and be upset and sad enough to determine to make a change. Learn and grow from this failure of yours.

People, you need to learn to fail! Learn to make mistakes and grow from them. Stop looking for shortcuts. Failing at things is part of the learning process of life. I am not saying plan to fail, but do not fear it. If it comes (and it certainly will sometimes) embrace it and move on. It does not mean the end of your life.
People fail.
People learn.
People grow up.
People move on.
That is life.

I said to the corpers; if you do not do this yourself, how can you know what you are capable of and how far you can go as you are now? How will you learn, be better and build confidence? Do it yourself. Just do it. Do it and fail or succeed, and you will be the better for it. Learn to be wrong now so you can be right next time, having known better.

If you are reading this, I say the same to you. Go out there and fail or succeed. you do fail, get up, dust yourself off and try again, having learned what worked and what did not. That is how we grow up and get better. That is how character, lives, companies and dreams are built, not by sitting on the side-lines and wanting people to do everything for you and/or help you cheat to move forward in life.

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