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Of Failures And Shortcomings

Everyone tells you to get over your failures and disappointments; time to move on, to look for success, to seek greener pastures, they say. But it’s damn difficult (it’s impossible, I tell you).

A few months ago, I thought it would be a good idea to list down my shortcomings (they said you can learn from this; convert weaknesses to strengths) and regrets (they said you can correct your wrongs). At first glance, it did seem like a worthwhile, reflective endeavour.

– Failing my riding test on the military motorcycle (and being bitterly disappointed at my incompetence).
– Attempting to organise a countdown party in Sembawang, and having to settle for a less elaborate event (and not entering the Singapore Book of Records). Clearly can be attributed to arrogance and over-confidence.
– Upsetting others with my tactlessness.
– Writing things without thinking or doing proper research (especially in the beginning), and construing the perspectives articulated in comments or other commentaries.
– Disappointing people.
– Refusing to do my assignments (particularly the mathematics ones) diligently, and paying the price in university and beyond.

Damn, this was getting depressing. And I had barely scratched the surface.

These memories and weaknesses will cruelly remind you of your inadequacies, of what you cannot do (a dislocated shoulder, for instance, here). They haunt you, taunt you, and remind you of what could’ve been. Insecurity at its best (here).

So you can’t forget them. They give you reasons to better yourself, to empathise with others and treat them better, as well as to look forward with better prospects. Yet, while they may be an integral part of your life, neither should you be obsessed with them, to change things; because – likewise – it is impossible. There will be times when the bad memories come flooding back, when your mind wishes you to remember what a dick you might’ve been, or when people and places trigger these flashbacks. The list will continue to expand, and we just have to live with these failures and shortcomings.

Perhaps this mere acknowledgement – and not pedantic fixation – can be the source of our humility. It is probably the source for scepticism, for the experience cautions and warns. At the same time, if we do not allow these thoughts to overwhelm our day-to-day interactions, then we won’t be hampered by lethargy and cynicism.

Still, what do I know?

About guanyinmiao

A man of knowledge lives by acting, not by thinking about acting. Carlos Castaneda.


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