overcome failure

Chanakya Thoughts: How to overcome failures and rejections

“Do not give up. The bad days do not last forever. Keep trying and keep learning. Success will surely come to you if you take hundreds of trails.” – Radhakrishnan Pillai
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The current pandemic has put challenges in front of all of us. Losing jobs, cutting on expenses, mental health issues and also relationships going through rough patches. Failures and rejections are part of everyone’s life. We all have faced failures in one way or the other. Maybe failing in an exam, or losing a sports game, or not being able to get through an interview. In relationships also, we have gone through some form of rejection. A marriage not working well, fights with siblings, or arguments with our boss or colleague at workplace. This is a part of life.

But, then, there is always a way out, and we can surely succeed in the next attempt. It is said, “Sleep is the best medicine. And time is the best healer.” So, if we have patience and give ourselves some time to recover, we can turn our failures to success. Apart from patience, is there a strategy to become a winner?

Chanakya also went through many failures and rejections in life. People did not take him seriously. Even Dhananda, the mighty king of Magadh (modern day Bihar), rejected him and insulted him in an open court. But he did not give up. He created a new leader, Chandragupta, from scratch and became a successful kingmaker.

Here is his advice to strugglers and those who have lost self-confidence, “Wealth will slip away from the foolish person, who continuously consults the stars; for wealth is the star of wealth; what will the stars do? Capable men will certainly secure wealth at least after a hundred trails.” (9.4.26).

The Kautilya’s Arthashastra was written for kings and leaders. They go through a lot of challenges on a daily basis. But, you always have to get up and get going. What do we learn from the above sutra (aphorism):

Avoid consulting too much

Chanakya calls a person a fool who continuously consults others. In India, we consult astrologers, palm readers and other types of future predictors. Nothing wrong in consulting them, but remember you will still have to do your work. Even if you are destined to be successful, you need to work towards your destiny. What can the planets and stars do, if you sit down and become lazy. These are only roadmaps and guiding tools. But, you will have to take the first step and start walking.

Also, when you consult too many people, it will lead to confusion. It is fine to take some advice from two or three wise people. But after that, analyse the inputs and make your own action plan.

Chanakya says even those who are wealthy, will lose their wealth if they consult too much. And those with good inputs from experts can create wealth.

Capability is important

If you have faced failures, it may be due to some skill or capability that you may not have. So, upgrade yourself and start working on your new skills and capabilities. Remember—what got you here, will not take you ahead. Today, one needs to reassess talents and competencies.

Study a bit more, research on latest trends, new emerging business models or read good books and make yourself future ready. I have personally met a lot of people with good working experience, but no one is ready to hire them. The reason is their capabilities are outdated. So, one needs to learn new skills and unlearn old methods.

Capable people will always find a way to make themselves relevant. Then they will have the cutting-edge advantage over the others. Instead of looking for a job, job offers will keep coming to them.

Keep working

Do not give up. The bad days do not last forever. Keep trying and keep learning. Success will surely come to you if you take hundreds of trails. If something does not work out, try the next. If that too does not work, try the next, and the next and the next. Just keep trying. And suddenly you will hit your jackpot. The formula is to never give up.

And tell yourself, “Right now, my time is not the best. But my best time is yet to come…”

Dr Radhakrishnan Pillai is an Indian management thinker, author, and Founder of Atma Darshan and Chanakya Aanvikshiki. Dr Pillai has extensively researched Kautilya’s Arthashastra, the 3rd century BC treatise and incorporated it into modern management.

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