Understanding Our Mistakes – When I Failed to reach the Top

Posted on July 19, 2010 in Specials

By Trishla Gupta:

28th May 2007, I learned one of the most invaluable lessons of life. However, before telling you what that is, I must give you a brief backdrop of my school years at Mater Dei. At Mater Dei, Trishla Gupta was a force to reckon with, especially where academics were concerned. I had an exceedingly good academic record, of which I am extremely proud. Never in all my 10 years of schooling, before this particular incident took place, had I scored below a 90% in any exam. Naturally, when the Board Exams of class 10 drew close, everybody expected my photographs to be in the newspapers!

Now, it so happens that though I always did very well in all my papers, I never had to study day and night, though everybody thought I did. However, I was very regular with my homework and revision. I continued this trend even in class 10. While everyone burnt the midnight lamp I slept peacefully in my bed, and never realized that this year, which was crucial for further studies, and more difficult than the previous years, I needed to put in some extra hard work if I had to match everybody’s expectations. However, I continued to work at my leisurely pace.

On 28 May when the Board results were out, I discovered that I had scored a paltry 80%. The person who used to be a topper, was now not even in the top 15! I was shocked, even shattered. Here was a blot on my academic career. Where all throughout my life, I had never felt embarrassed or ashamed of revealing my marks to people; here I was in complete shock praying that no one remembers that my results are out! I had withdrawn into a cocoon, unable to face the reality, when my mom came to me and said-“Are you not glad that this happened now, when you have plenty of time to realize where you went wrong and then correct yourself?”

It was then on 28 May that I learned one valuable lesson. Only through mistakes, can there be self-discovery and progress. It was important for me to fall once so that I could get up again. It was necessary for me to realize and understand where I had gone wrong so that I could correct myself. Had I not done so atrociously by my standards, I perhaps would not have worked again for the next 2 years, and the result would have been disastrous for my career. The mistake that I had made of not prioritizing my goals, of not realizing that work and play go hand in hand, of not understanding that there are times when we need to work even harder than usual, might have just spelled doom for me. However, I was lucky enough to see where I had gone wrong, to analyze what I should have done and should now do. This setback helped me to understand myself, and the flaws in my work ethic.

Friends, my motive here is not to just ramble on and on and tell you about my problems in life, but to share with you a very small instance and motivate you not to get discouraged by a single instance of failure, or by the mistakes, you made. The bottom line is that unless you fall, you will not get up again. Yes, you do need the perseverance and determination to do well. However, if you have that innate desire to be successful, there is no stopping you. When a toddler takes its first steps, it stumbles and falls. Only after falling for the umpteenth time does it start walking on its own. When I was learning basketball, there was an instance when I fell and hurt myself very badly. My coach, instead of being concerned started smiling. On seeing the indignation on my face, he said “I was waiting for you to fall once. Now, I can say that you know the game.”

Remember that your graph in life can never be a positive slope. There will be a time when it reaches its peak and then it will start moving downwards again. It has to rise and fall. We fall when we make mistakes but we rise when we correct those mistakes. Understand what you have done wrong, correct it and then rise from the ashes like a phoenix.

The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz.