I was pained to read about the suicide of the depressed kid who killed himself by jumping off a hotel building. In the world of social media, he assumed that everyone except him is doing exceedingly well for themselves and he is the only loser on earth. He probably posted about his suicide on social media hoping to taste some success and become famous. He longed for success, but had to kill himself for it. Sadly, he did not live to see how famous he has become.
I was moved by the news. In a life connected to smartphones, I believe youngsters need a reality check about what real life is, what success is, and how it can be achieved. What happens on social media is virtual, but what you do with your life is real. Moving your fingers is far easier than rolling up your sleeves and getting to work. This difference needs to be understood.
When youngsters are depressed and feel suicidal, they are thinking of their life in short term. They believe that their life is going to end up being what it is today – forever. But that is far from truth. When you are depressed at 20, you forget that you will be alive for the next 60 years. If you lose 2 years to depression – what the heck! You still have 58 years to resurrect yourself.
Here are 4 examples that come to my mind of people who resurrected themselves out of failure –
Remember the guy who was slapped by people on a railway station for picking Sunil Dutt’s wallet in Munnabhai MBBS? That was Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Nawaz graduated from NSD and was forced to work as a cook and a security guard because he had no work and no money. How many of you are willing to do that as a part of your struggle to succeed? Did he feel depressed about it then? So what did he do? And where is he today?
Nawaaz kept trying. Trying hard. Finally a casting director suggested his name to Sujoy Ghosh, who was directing Kahaani. Sujoy himself was battling 2 flops while making Kahaani. He offered Nawaz an important role of an IB official. Nawaaz got a small opportunity to make it big in Bollywood. After years of failure, he precisely knew what that small opening could do for his career. And boy did he deliver? For his role in Kahaani, Nawaaz walked away with a National Award. That was the beginning. Today he is perhaps the rare few actors in Bollywood who has worked with all the three Khans in a span of 3 years. He makes crores and lives like a King. Failure was the foundation of Nawaz’s success.
In 2007 World Cup, when India was knocked out of the WC Qualifiers, Sachin Tendulkar cried in the dressing room. He announced to many of his fellow cricketers that he wants to retire. Sachin lost his nerve when faced with such a colossal failure, for the first time in his life. He probably feared coming back to India and facing his fans, friends, and family.
Vivian Richards got to know about Sachin’s state of mind. He called and spoke to him for 1 hour. An invigorated Sachin went back to his rigorous training. In the next 5 years, he reached 100 centuries, became the highest run getter in Test and ODIs, won the World Cup and had millions of people crying for him when he retired at Wankhede. He got a send-off no cricketer has ever had in the history of the game. He became a legend because he refused to bow down to failure. A chat with someone who Sachin respected and idolised, turned around his career and life.
Tony Hseih was 24, when he made $265 million selling his startup to Microsoft. He lived like a king and blew up all his money on parties, houses, cars and bad investments. He lost everything. One day with no money in his pockets, he was literally on the roads. That night he met a guy who told him about an idea of selling shoes online. Who buys shoes online???
A bankrupt Tony Hseih loved the idea, took a loan, and invested in the startup. They called it Zappos. Less than a decade later, Hseih sold the company for 1.2 billion dollars to Amazon. From $265 million to bankruptcy to $1.2 billion. He later wrote a book called Delivering Happiness and divided it into 3 chapters – Profits, Passion and Purpose. That is the sequence in which he discovered himself in life. Hseih proves that no money is not the end of life. It is a state of life from where the only way you go is up.
As a struggler, music director Naushad slept on the footpath opposite Broadway cinema. 16 years later he stood there for the premiere of his movie Baiju Bawara. Tears started flowing from his eyes as he saw the footpath that he slept on, from the other side. When asked why he was crying, a weeping Naushad said, “I can’t believe it took me 16 years to cross this road.” Persistence ultimately. paid, even if it took 16 years.
Did these guys ever feel depressed? Probably they did. Did they cry over it? Yes. People cry when they fail. They feel anxious, lonely and sad. But did they continue to sit back and do nothing about it? They didn’t. They picked up the pieces and stood up again. They refused to believe that because they failed now, they are destined to fail forever. They fought back hard until the time destiny could no longer influence their future. And because they did, they ended up writing their future the way they wanted it to be.
The point is life does not stop with failure. There is no successful person on earth who has not seen failure or been depressed about it. The journey to success begins with failure. Therefore they say, failure is the best teacher. Because it teaches you what not to do, so that you can focus on what to do.
Failure happens because each one of us are different, and life offers several opportunities for us to discover our personal formula of success. Which is why they say there is no magic formula for success. You have to earn it the hard way. Nobody else can do it for you. The problem is many of us are not ready for a long haul. We give up.
By Ninad Vengurlekar