The Virtue of Failure

Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.- C. S. Lewis

When I was in college, I have this desire to become a great public speaker. My thought was that if I can speak to many people, I will lose all fear to speak to one or two person (I was a real introvert back then).

So on one fateful day, I decided to join a Toastmaster club. I started my first day by volunteering to speak on a random topic for two minutes. 

It was hard, my grammar was bad, I mumbled through my entire speech and I went overtime. In short, it was a failure.

But it was also a good failure, for through that failed 3 minutes impromptu speech, I learned that people won’t suddenly stood up and chanted “Shame! Shame! Shame!” when you delivered a failed speech. 

Some laughed, some snided when I returned to my seat, but some actually congratulated me for trying. I even learned some tricks to make a speech better (ie. speak very slowly, you tend to speak faster when under a spotlight).

That session really encouraged me and soon, I find myself joining the Toastmaster Club. That summer, I found myself delivering imperfect speeches after imperfect speeches, until one day, I learned to deliver better speeches.

My social life improved as my confidence increases. And if there are few things I learned during those days, it was these:

  1. As Mark Manson said, I found that “Improvement in anything is based on thousands of tiny failures, and the magnitude of your success is based on how many times you’ve failed at something.”
  2. Life is mostly about not knowing and doing something anyway.
  3. Action is the best antidote against fear and analysis paralysis.

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I'm a happiness blogger who writes about philosophy for living strong, loving unconditionally and laughing more.

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