HOW TO BOUNCE BACK FROM FAILURE
About forty years ago in a remote part of the then Bendel State, a middle-aged man prepared a mini feast and called his relatives and neighbours to join him to celebrate his son who just sat for and failed the WASC and JAMB examinations woefully. His relatives were perplexed. They did not understand why their kinsman was celebrating his son’s failure but because he had promised a good meal and entertainment, they decided to honour the invitation and to enjoy the comedy show that was bound to take place.
They all gathered and the man, a thriving trader, welcomed everyone and served food while a DJ entertained the guests with popular tunes. Halfway through their meal, the man answered the question on everyone’s mind. He told his guests that as most of them knew, his education ended in primary school when he dropped out to hustle and fend for himself and his family. He said that he always wished he had studied further and was hoping that his children would achieve what he couldn’t. He said that he dropped out of school in primary four but his son had gone on to secondary school and had even attempted to get into the university. He said that although his son failed, it was still a great improvement on his own record and he wanted to thank his son for his effort so far. He said he was hopeful that his son would try again and come home with a better result.
Everyone was stunned, some snickered though but the man’s son was the most affected. He was shamefaced and sad; he knew that he could have done better. He hadn’t realised how significant his educational progress was to his father. After the party, on his knees, he told his father that given a second chance, he would make his family proud. With his perception changed, the boy changed his habits, stayed away from his old friends and devoted himself to studying. It paid off; he did not just pass his examinations in flying colours, he is today a university professor and also runs a very prestigious institution in Nigeria.
Again, this drives home the saying that failure is not an identity; it is just an event and can be changed.
Although failure is mostly considered a negative outcome, something to be avoided at all cost, it is part of the life journey. In fact, many successful professionals experienced failure numerous times before achieving success. The important thing is to learn how to turn setbacks into opportunities for huge success.
Failure is a valuable learning opportunity.
When you encounter failure, you can analyze what went wrong, identify the root cause of the problem, and develop solutions to prevent the same mistake from happening in the future. This process of analyzing and problem-solving can help entrepreneurs, academicians; researchers, students and tutors to develop their skills and knowledge, allowing them to become better at what they do..
Failure helps to build resilience.
All life’s endeavours can be challenging and uncertain. It is not always possible to tow a path already carefully crafted by another and even in that event, outcome may still differ greatly. Failure can help you build and develop the ability to persevere in the face of adversity and challenges. Entrepreneurs who experience failure and continue to pursue their goals despite the setbacks are more likely to succeed in the long run.
Failure can birth innovation.
They say necessity is the mother of invention and beneath this necessity is a story of failure. It could be failure to gain pre-requisite approvals, funds, required raw materials or locations etc. When faced with this type of failure, most people begin to think outside the box to create a new, workable solution. This process can lead to the development of new products, services, business models and schools of thought. All these may not have been possible without experiencing failure.
Failure teaches humility and banishes complacence.
When success is consistent, it is easy to become over-confident and careless. Some people equate their successes to their level of intelligence and diligence and begin to feel invincible. Whereas intelligence, diligence, dedication and enterprise are sure pathways to success, failure may still happen and this helps to humble a person and to banish complacency. Failure not only brings humility but helps the individual realise that there’s always much more that can be learnt and done.
Four ways to bounce back from failure
- Have the willpower to succeed
Many people give up at the onset of failure. A little setback unsettles them and can send their careers spiralling southward. To overcome failure and use it as a stepping stone to success, your mindset must be correct; failure is not your identity, it is only an event and a call for more and better action.
- Analyze What Went Wrong
Look at the situation and the steps that led to failure and find out what you may have done wrong. Be objective. This should help you to identify the root cause of the failure and proffer solutions to help get it right at the next attempt.
- Research Your Findings
Don’t jump right back into the process to implement the new solution. Take a little time to analyse and study your findings and proffered solution. Put your findings under scrutiny and fine-tune them until a great result is ensured.
To test the workability of your researched result, you can use a focus group and work with the received feedback. You can also experiment with a little control sample depending on the project/activity in view. This is also a good time to reach out to mentors, tutors, colleagues and clients. At the end, you are likely to develop strategies and solutions that would greatly improve future endeavours.
- Be Open To Change
Setbacks can also be an opportunity to tinker with the model and make appreciable changes. When failure occurs, it may be a signal to change your approach, business model, or product/service delivery options. By embracing change and being willing to adapt, entrepreneurs can position themselves for success in the long run.
Finally, you can turn setbacks into opportunities by reframing failure. Instead of viewing failure as a negative outcome, you can see it as a learning opportunity or a necessary step on the path to success. A woman was jilted by her lover leaving her disgraced and pregnant with a baby. However, this led her straight to a man who later became the Number 1 citizen of her country. Setbacks are sometimes setups for a glorious future. Use your own challenges well. By reframing failure, you can maintain a positive mindset, stay motivated in the face of adversity and position yourself for long-term success.
Fatherhood with Ibe
PARENTING IS A DUTY
I got a mail from a lady and she raised a concern that I want to share on Fatherhood.
One of the things that the globalisation of the world has done for us is that the younger people think more outside the box than their parents (This is my opinion, don’t call me out on it). This is especially obvious in the family set up where the roles are changing and merging. The ‘man as breadwinner and woman as caregiver’s scenario has been shaken so hard that in some families it is totally non-existent. Young couples come together these days and plan their finances, their parenting responsibilities and cooperation including handling of household chores. This was not the way things were run before. It is a common sight to see young men cleaning up their apartments and helping with some domestic chores; the traditional ways are gradually being phased off and that is because women are holding the forte just as well as the men in the work space.
Therefore, it is almost an abnormality now to see a man who cannot fix himself a meal once in a while and, when necessary, bathe and feed his kids, throw out the trash or clean his home and go grocery shopping. More men now know that loving a woman means making sure she does not slump from fatigue while you play ‘Lord of the manor.’ There is no hard and fast rule for couples but as I said earlier, when a man loves a woman, her welfare becomes a priority for him and same goes for the woman. Children belong to the father as well as the mother and are to be cared for by the two parents. I believe that taking care of your child physically, spiritually, financially and emotionally is a responsibility equally shared by parents. It is not something you do because you feel like it or because your child is cute and well-mannered. It is a responsibility you sign on once you venture into parenthood; wilfully neglecting this duty should be interpreted as gross irresponsibility.
The mail from a certain Susan, simply captioned “I made a mistake” is an example of what fatherhood is not.
“My name is Susan and I have been reading your articles for a while now. I hope you can give me some useful insights.
I got married two and a half years ago to a man that seemed to understand me perfectly. We were both law graduates and had a burning desire to impact the Nigerian judicial system. We always had fun together and marriage was the next logical step and we were happy to tie the knot. I dreamt of a blissful life with him. However, what I have now is far from the expectation I had.
I work in the Logistics unit of an NGO in Abuja. The job entails a lot of travelling to visit and service our project sites within Nigeria. After my wedding, I applied for a reduction in my travel assignments. My organisation approved my request but said it would take effect six months later because we had just received a grant and were working out the details; everyone in the office was busy. I decided to go on the pill because I did not want to get pregnant at that point. My husband was livid. He made such a fuss out of my use of contraceptives that I threw them out and promptly got pregnant. It was a rough seven months. I had to cope with a tedious work schedule in the office, running a home and dealing with changes in my body and health. I didn’t get any help from my husband nor did he allow me to get a maid. After a while, he brought his younger brother to live with us. Initially, I was happy about it because I thought that being an adult and jobless, the young man would help with a few chores around the house. I was wrong. All I got was another entitled person who wanted me to wait on him as well.
My baby came prematurely; I guess all the stress got to the little princess and she decided to come out and see for herself. We were in the hospital for over a month and this meant paying a huge hospital bill – a fact that irked my mother-in-law deeply. Later, she introduced the problem of having a girl as a first child. According to her, there is no record of any male in my husband’s family that had a girl as a first child. I don’t know how this was made to look like a problem or a failure on my part. I just found that I seemed to be on my own; I got no help from my husband, his mother and brother, neither in running the house nor in caring for the baby. Both mother and son were still guests in my home when I resumed work some months later but I still had to take my baby to a crèche every single day.
I think my baby is the most precious gift of God to me, why doesn’t my husband feel so? Is there nothing like a rush of paternal love? Do men have to work hard to create a bond with their offspring? I am totally confused and sad. I have tried to find out what the problem is, why he does not show any affection to his child. My husband said perhaps it would have been different if our baby was a boy. Is that true? Are there some emotional strings that bind men quickly to their sons but not their daughters?
I was a proper Daddy’s girl so it breaks my heart to see that there is no flow of emotion from my husband to his child; sometimes it’s as if he forgets her existence. She is almost two years old and I can’t remember ever seeing my daughter in her father’s arms. Is there anything that I can do to remedy that situation? My marriage is already a disappointment but that is my mistake; my baby does not deserve to suffer. She needs a loving father. How can I make it happen?
Next publication, I will discuss my gut feelings about Susan’s situation and the solutions I think she needs to embrace for the sake of her little girl.