In week-2 of the 1st semester at IIT Kanpur, I got my first big life shock – the physics quiz.
This quiz was pretty nasty: An ant was supposedly crawling on a rotating disc and we were expected to figure out its motion in polar coordinates, or something like that.
But, to make sure that we didn’t start our IIT life with a zero, there was an easy question for 3 marks and a hard one for 7 marks.
I had paid little attention to the lectures or assignments, but being ambitious, I coolly ignored the easy question and attacked the 7-marks one.
Soon, I realized that I had no idea what I was doing. I kept cursing the ant in the question until the time ran out.
The class average was 3 marks. And my score? That you can easily guess.
All my life, I was used to scoring high and teachers fawning over me. And now when I was facing my first failure-shock, I had no idea how to handle it.
I had always assumed that if you are smart and work hard enough, you will succeed. No, you won’t.
You will fail. And the more ambitious you are, the bigger challenges you will take up, the more you will fail. Even a successful entrepreneur will have enough disappointments to fill an encyclopedia.
Here is the biggest life skill that nobody teaches — bouncing back from failures, dusting off our disappointments, and moving on.
Everyone can handle success. But unstoppable will be the guy who can handle failure.