Extended version of my column Run&Bee in Hindustan Times

Week 64: We need to embrace failure; it's alright not to come first each time

Most of us grew up in the ‘Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander’ era, an Aamir Khan 1992 movie set in college where, as name suggests, the whole focus was on winning in sports, no matter what it took. As much as TV shows and movies can impact the society but they also are a reflection of the society, what it’s become and what it wants.  

The focus is on winning, pretty much from the time we are born, from winning the baby beauty contests when the child can barely sit, to reaching all kinds of milestones at the earliest. Rather than blaming the society, the parents are the very first ones who are responsible for putting undue pressure on their own children.

You didn’t give birth to a trophy. It’s a child. Please don’t take their childhood away. Each of them are special and unique, they don’t need to be in a rat race to prove that. 

Then come along pre-schools, where the parents of pretty much all kids, go a bit over the top. That is then carried forward in primary schools and beyond.

Lot of us have been tagged as losers. We need to stop thinking what others think of us. The question should be what do we think of ourselves after putting in our best efforts.

Lot of us have been tagged as losers. We need to stop thinking what others think of us. The question should be what do we think of ourselves after putting in our best efforts.

I still recall an under-7 cricket tournament, where my younger son who is now 13, was playing. The pressure that all the kids were under because of their parents expectations was simply monumental. 

The language used by parents against the other team was by no means exemplary. And all these parents wore everything branded. Kids, whether from rich or poor background, are just kids, very innocent. They become whichever way we mould them. 

My son’s team ended up being runner’s up, which I thought was awesome. At the prize ceremony there was a gentleman from the state’s governing body of cricket. He went on and on about how only the poor, since they have the hunger to win, end up winning. The losing team that day, which came second out of 14 participating teams across north India, was made to feel like losers. 
Swaty Malik at edition-X of La Ultra - The High earlier this year. She missed the second cut-off of 18 kms by a few minutes. Rather than sugar-coating failure, we need to face it. No, it’s not the end of the world, but neither does it mean that you give up. Success or winning is not in your hands, but your best effort is. Get on with it.

Swaty Malik at edition-X of La Ultra - The High earlier this year. She missed the second cut-off of 18 kms by a few minutes. Rather than sugar-coating failure, we need to face it. No, it’s not the end of the world, but neither does it mean that you give up. Success or winning is not in your hands, but your best effort is. Get on with it.

Some in the society have realised this problem and have a unique solution for it. One of the top schools in Mumbai, during their annual sports day, puts a 100m sprint together. Almost all the children end up breaking the world record. If that’s the kind of talent we have, then where do we wrong? 

We go wrong in measuring the distance. Calling a 30 metres as 100 metres so that everyone can beat the world record and be a champion is simply no solution. That, actually, is the problem.

We need to embrace failure. We need to learn from childhood that it’s alright not to come first each time, as long as we put in our best efforts. The results will never be in your own hands. Only our best effort can be. So we need to do just that. Give it our very best. 

It was then a pleasant surprise to sit through a movie whose title I simply didn’t like, Chichorey. I wish they could have come up with a better name. The theme is pretty much on the lines of ‘failing is not a crime, lack of effort is.’ The movie seems to carry on from where ‘3 idiots’ left of. What then happens to the next generation and how the parents try to tackle it. All this while sports and running is in the background. 

Whether you run, you plan to run, you are in a rat race in the corporate world, have children or plan to have children, you’ve got to watch this movie. Not for the cinematography, performances or best story line, but for the intent behind putting this movie that the whole society needs to watch. 

From ‘all is well’ to ‘fikar not’

From ‘all is well’ to ‘fikar not’

Chichorey, the name isn’t polite, neither is the problem we are facing today. Running has a lot to teach you about life and it has nothing to do with the winner or participation medals or certificates. It is to help you to become your best, for your own sake. Hence, run and bee.

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