Of feelings and failings

Of feelings and failings

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By Ali Azam Khan

We should worry more about feelings, not failings. Or, in other words, we should focus more on happiness, rather than on success because success cannot guarantee happiness.  There is another way of looking at this; we have made all the progress in the fields of science and technologies, but at the cost of killing all the emotions that define us as humans.

We have been caring less about feelings and more about success. We have been caring less about the sufferings of others and more about expanding our powers. We have been caring less about the person sitting next to us and more about the attractions of the gadget that we call the “Mobile”.

Nowadays, people tend to be more materialistic. However, happiness is something immeasurable and it comes out of the blue, caused by the most unpredictable things. For example, kindness is an act that has an immense positive impact on the person helping, or the one being helped, and surely kindness is unpredictable, and yet desirable.

So, what basically is happiness? And, how does it relate to success and failure? Or do both of them inhere the same context?

I’d like to begin by explaining why satisfaction can’t always be guaranteed by the completion of an objective, which in our case is success. So primarily success boasts different meanings among the masses; it can either be a worldly desire, or a future career, or fame, but most commonly it relates to academic excellence.

The road to happiness, as psychologist Martin Seligman explains, has three routes; using your unique skills for productivity, finding ways to contribute to the society, and positive emotions or happiness. Intrinsically, our psyche points out that the arrival of our fruit will provide something worthy of coveted desire, but surprisingly that’s not the case. Imagine winning a lottery ticket worth billions. Sounds good right? But research has proved that such object-oriented happiness doesn’t even last a year, let alone a lifetime.

Now, where does failure fit in?

Let’s take the example of a hardworking student struggling to gain an elegant score. What if he was to fail? Or, rather, be disappointed by the outcome? He or she would surely feel bad and probably lose their self esteem, but why can’t s/he be comfortable with the fact that they actually put their heart into something? That they can be reborn with a new sense, a sense that makes them avoid previous mishaps? So in this case we observe that failure, as most people put it, is a type of sense leading only to discouragement or disheart. Most successful people, who made their mark in history, have all been saying the same thing.

Albert Einstein quoted that failures lead to their demise in future, Winston Churchill, the Nobel prize winner and the man who led WW2 from the brink of defeat to victory, stated that success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts. And, after all, isn’t courage a type of feelings? Thomas Edison, the man who literally lit up the world, said that instead of failures, he simply found thousands of ways that won’t work! Paulo Coelho, globally renowned for his writings, proclaimed that the inability to achieve is the fear of failure.

So my point here is that our meaning of failure is inaccurate and we need to reshape it into its real purpose, a purpose contradicting discouragement. The second most intriguing act (which is our base on the topic) is to sting the feelings of others to emerge as the idol. Most people don’t respect the fact that pulling others down to ascend is ethically unacceptable, lowers a person’s status and most importantly it’s not worth it, the guilt haunts that person till his own downfall.

A fictitious example of the scenario is that of Amir’s father in the novel Kite Runner, the father couldn’t even look up to his sons eyes because his sin always highlighted his insignificance. Or take a real life situation like that of a person insulting someone in front of an audience, he always feels the urge to just walk up and apologize, but our culture has another meaning of “apologize”, doesn’t it? No matter how hard they try to forget, life always reminds us that our blunders were once warned. Now resurfacing our main argument, is feeling more important? Or has success really pinched our ends of desperation? In my opinion bearing a lifetime of criticisms raining upon us in return for being true to ourselves will guarantee long lasting and genuine happiness .After all good values are the most important of things in life.

If only for once you let go of the fact of what other people give a damn about, you’ll finally start living your life and probably give rise to others.

So, be true. Be human.

The contributor is a grade 9 student at AKHSS, Gilgit. 

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