In High School I became
extremely competitive in achieving top grades. In one particular semester I
worked so hard that I did not expect to come any lower than second in the
class. What do you think happened? I ended up failing in English, a subject
that I dreaded --- I simply could not make any sense of it. A black cloud of
depression hung over me and for a number of nights that followed, I found it difficult
to sleep. Certain of my classmates even took pleasure in my failure. What had
occurred had been something totally unexpected. I became gloomy and sad for the
next few days. A teacher noticed the state I was in and tried his best to
encourage me and give me comfort
Whenever this time of life
comes back to me I am astonished at how gravely it affected me. The depression
into which I fell did not help in the least, and it had no effect whatsoever in
changing my failing grade into a passing one.
What I want to say to you is
this: Do not think that if you become depressed or downcast because of failure,
you will suddenly achieve success. It won't happen. The only effect that such
gloom can have upon you is to make your failure more complete.
When I had completed my
masters thesis I was hoping to get an 'A' grade. I thought my work was
deserving of an 'A' but in the end I only got a 'B' I overreacted when this
happened and I became extremely agitated over my grade. A sensible friend of
mine said to me, "Suppose, that for one reason or another, you had never completed
your masters degree. What would you have done? Furthermore, what difference
does it really make whether you get an 'A' or a 'B': you still have a Masters
degree." What he said was obviously true and I returned to my senses. I
now realize that the best way of dealing with similar situations is to be
prepared in advance for the worst possible results.
I took away a good lesson
from this experience. When the time came to submit my doctoral thesis, the
faculty delayed the date of submission for a long time. My thesis was already
finished and well prepared. Because I was ready for anything, their delaying me
did not have a great effect on me.
Whoever is mentally prepared
for bankruptcy in his business will not worry over a partial loss.