Fail and Failure

“Fail and failure—aren’t they the same thing?”, you might wonder.
Prem makes a poignant distinction between the two.

An excerpt from Prem Rawat’s address in Australia | September 23, 2016

Duration: 4 minutes 51 seconds
File type: Audio mp3
File size: 7MB

In our lives, one of the things we do is we accept failure very easily, very quickly. Because there is one thing which is failing, and then there is the failure.

So, failing will happen.

There was a time in your life where failing didn’t mean anything. It was acceptable; it was normal. And the part of your life where this happened was when you were learning to walk. So there you were, coming from a place, from a time in which language didn’t mean a whole lot.

So, nobody indoctrinated you into this; nobody gave you a lecture about this; nobody —do you know—you didn’t go out and read some scripture, but you had an urge to walk. And this came from inside of you, and there was no question about it—you wanted to walk!

But you were extremely ill-equipped to walk. You had two legs, but the muscles in that leg that needed to carry you were not developed. You needed a sense of balance. And you didn’t really understand it. And so, a day came in which you made this attempt to get up. And anybody could have told you what was going to happen.

It was not a happening thing. You were going to fall—and you did! And you failed! You…you actually failed—because the first, first part is just getting up. But you kept going—and you would fail! And you would fail, and you would fail….

And finally you got to the point where you could actually get up. And as soon as you got up [demonstrating, wobbling] there was still going to be failure! You were going to fail again. Because now the whole sense of balance starts to kick in, and stabilization, and you know, the nerves are telling the muscles, “Do this, do….”

Because everything is an overreaction, under-reaction. Nothing is used to anything—and you are doomed to failure.

But you weren’t a failure because you never accepted failure.

And so you took that one little step, and boomf! You failed—bam! And sometimes the kids even look at the mother, “Should I cry?” You know…you…you—they get to, right to that point of where their bottom lip is quivering and everything, and they’re like… And the mother looks like, “Oh, it’s okay, it’s okay”—it’s like, “Oh, it’s okay.” Brainwashing!

But you just kept failing and failing and failing and failing and failing and failing. Till one day, because you did not accept failure, you did the impossible, and you took that step. And then the next step. And all of a sudden the most incredible transformation took place. And what you just accomplished wasn’t walking. You unlocked the world to yourself. Krrrract! Now you could go wherever you wanted to go. You were free.

So, “fail” and “failure” meant two different things.

Then as you grew up, you started to associate the two; you merged the two. “Failure is always painful—demeaning and painful.” And all your life, your energy turned into “not failing.” So that no failing happens in your life, you would have to become non-human. Not going to happen! You’re human! But there is a way out of this pickle. And the way out is, “Don’t associate failure with failing.”

-Prem Rawat