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Without failure there can be no success.

I JUST ran for the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce board of directors and didn't make it. I failed. I must admit that the first few hours really stung, although many people told me that the risks were high, and that I should run as part of a group and not an independent. Me being the stubborn mule that I am, I wanted to find out for myself. And so I rejected the invitations to groups, ran as an independent, and did things my way. Even though I got a respectable 900 votes, I should have listened to what people had to say. Or should I?

I am the biggest proponent of failure. I love it. I speak about it all the time in my lectures. Without failure there can be no success. Without failure you can never learn. And without failure, you will never truly appreciate anything. The ancient Japanese art of making Samurai swords includes very high temperatures, and a constant folding of the steel. They bend the steel over itself hundreds of times; making it extremely strong and durable. I see each failure as the bending of my steel, and the next hit of the hammer making sure I'm ready to become a deadly blade. The more I get hammered, the less I feel the hits.

Emotions are great, but don't let emotions overrun you. And at the same time don't ignore them. In the Tao philosophy we are encouraged to be like water, which can be very soft, fill into any shape container, and flow smoothly. Yet water can also be very hard (if it gets hit), and water can erode rocks over time and make them smooth just by insisting to flow over them day after day, year after year. Let's try to be more like water, and less like a rock.

The brain tends to reflect on the reasons why you failed, and what you could have done better. That's good, because that supercomputer on your shoulders is getting itself ready for the next time. Take those lessons home with you, because they are priceless. It's our duty as conscious beings to deal with emotions in a positive way and allow our minds to absorb whatever information is relevant and important: Banking it as experience. The combination of the cold hard data with the emotional strength could be called experience. The multiplication of experience with age could be defined as wisdom. So embrace all of the downs as well as the ups, and appreciate what you got out of it. Down the line you will laugh at everything because life is too short to be sad or disappointed. Wisdom is priceless, and I would go through any hell to become a wise man.

You never truly know yourself until you're down. That is where you find your limits. You know where the bottom is, and you also know where the top is. Most importantly, that is where you re-establish your emotional and psychological boundaries. Humans are nothing if not resilient, and we have survived hundreds of thousands of years because of that tough stubborn strength. Now that we have everything at our fingertips, it doesn't mean that we allow ourselves to become soft.

I guess my point is that one way or another, whether on purpose or not, we are gonna find ourselves in the mud sometimes: That sticky, dirty, unforgiving mud. So what we do from that point on depends on us. Do we just sit there and slowly sink into its darkness? Or do we make mud angels, laugh at ourselves for being mucky, and get out and hit the showers? That my friends, depends on our character. All I really pray for is to one day become a wise man.

Hmed Fakhroo

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Mar 1, 2014
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