In pursuit of success, deal with failure. – An Article by Vijay Batra


Fall down seven times, get up eight times. -Japanese proverb.


The recent Chandrayan 2 mission has been a wonderful learning experience for all of us, and that is to prepare and to work hard in-order to succeed must be coupled with the resilience to face failure.

In Japan, there is another proverb, “even monkeys fall off the trees” meaning, even experts make a mistake.

Sending a probe to Mars orbit, was a wonderful accomplishment, succeeding in soft landing on Moon is an endeavour which is equally or maybe much more challenging.

My father, who invested his whole life in endeavouring would often be anchored by the following three thoughts:

1. If you reach for the stars, you will not come back with a handful of mud either.

2. If every attempt fails, lower your standards.

3. Do not make best the enemy of the better.

In guiding ourselves and our children, we need to be mindful that the “winner takes it all” or “if you succeed you are a hero, if you fail you are a zero” are very limiting beliefs.

The very successful Japanese car companies, including Toyota, when they started exporting cars from Japan to America, they faced rejection and failure. I remember my cousin who was settled in America, referring to Japanese cars being exported in the early 1970s were often referred to as death traps because the safety record of the Japanese cars was way below par.

The Japanese car companies remained resilient and kept on improving the designing and the quality of car making. In October of 1973 when the first oil shock hit America, when fuel efficiency became a priority, the Japanese car companies capitalized on the situation and kept on investing in making their cars better and better, both safety-wise, and fuel economy wise. By early 1980s Japanese cars were selling at a premium in America.

In the late 1980s, the Japanese car companies were doing brilliantly but were hit by the rising Yen. Companies, like Toyota, were hit hard, but they worked very hard and kept on improving in the face of the rising Yen. When the Oil shock of 1970 was favourable, the Japanese car companies kept on working hard and didn’t become complacent, and when the rising Yen shock hit them in 1980s they kept on working hard, undeterred by tough times.

Japanese companies have been great examples of dealing with failure…

Be it ISRO or Toyota, let us be inspired by people working in these organisations, how they have learnt to succeed and deal with failure that often comes in the pursuit of success.




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