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How To Handle Failure

Failure is necessary for success. All we need to learn is how to handle failure. Learning to handle failure will help you succeed in life. This is the key.

When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” 
Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. I know 1000 ways a light bulb can not be made. Now I can try the 1001st idea.”

Handling failure makes you confident about your success. It makes your more focused on your goal. It pushes your energy to a new level. It opens another window in the wall to a new world which was hidden before. Here is a story of the great Indian scientist and leader Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam which is about how a true leader handles failure:

Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

“The year was 1979. I was the project director. My mission was to put the satellite in the orbit. Thousands of people worked nearly 10 years. I have reached Sriharikota and it is in the launch pad. The countdown was going on…T – 4, T – 3, T- 2, T- 1 minute, T- 40 seconds; and the computer put it on hold… don’t launch it. I am the mission director, I have to take a decision. The experts advised me to go ahead with the launch as they were confident about their calculations.

I bypassed the computer and launched the system. There are four stages before the satellite is launched. The first stage went off well, and in the second stage, it got mad. It went into a spin. Instead of putting the satellite in orbit, it put it into the Bay of Bengal.

First time I faced failure… And how to manage failure? Success I can manage, but how to manage failure?

ISRO chief Dr. Satish Dhawan held a press conference along with me.
“Dear friends, we have failed today. I want to support my technologists, my scientists, my staff, so that next year they succeed,” said Dr. Dhawan.

He took the whole blame on himself despite criticisms. He took all the blame and assured them that next year we would succeed because his team was a very good one.

Next year, on July 18, 1980, the same team successfully launched Rohini RS-1 into the orbit. Then Dr. Dhawan asked me to conduct the press conference that day.

I learned a very important lesson that day. When failure occurred, the leader of the organization owned that failure. When success came, he gave it to his team. The best management lesson I have learned did not come to me from reading a book; it came from that experience.”

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