Friday, October 30, 2009

Why to Write a Failure Résumé? - Prof.M.S.Rao

"When I was young, I observed that nine out of 10 things I did were failures, so I did 10 times more work." - George Bernard Shaw

Robert joined in a research center as a researcher where he had to do extensive research in his passionate area of leadership and soft skills for authoring books. He found out a few triggers and authored a book. Unfortunately the book did not sail through as it lacked research depth. But he was not worried but analyzed the reasons for the failure. After thorough research he came to know the real reasons for debacle and tried again and succeeded in authoring a book on leadership which became a runaway hit. Likewise, we find many people like Robert who learns from failures and stage a smart come back.

Importance of Failures:

"Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, this time more wisely." - Anonymous

Failure is like a mother who teaches many lessons. As mother stands by you through thick and thin the failure always remains with you and teaches several lessons. In contrast, success is like a beautiful girl who may go away at any time. Everyone loves to taste success but nobody loves to face failure. People treat failure as a stigma. In fact, failure is a great teacher. It reminds you constantly not to repeat mistakes whenever you take up any challenge. Initial failures are blessing in disguise as otherwise people would remain complacent without churning any valuable takeaways throughout their lives.

The former American President Abraham Lincoln underwent several trails and tribulations throughout his life. He was a self educated man. He rightly quoted, “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.” He failed several times. He failed to establish as a businessman. He failed in his love. He had nervous breakdown. After suffering several defeats in politics he rose to the highest position in America as the first Republican President. He failed differently but he was never dejected. He learnt lessons whenever he failed and moved forward thereby becoming stronger and successful. In brief, Lincoln lost a few battles initially so as to win a war finally.

Everyone Fails:

"Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure." - George Woodberry, Poet

The fact is that everyone fails in life. If anyone claims not having encountered failure probably s/he has not tried anything worth in life. We take several decisions in our lives. All decisions may not sail through smoothly. A few fall flat. It could be due to wrong decision making or could be due to the external forces and factors which are beyond human control. Therefore, here is a failure resume which minimizes failures and maximizes successes.

What is a Failure Resume?

“Failure is, in a sense, the highway to success ….” – John Keats.

Everyone speaks of success resume but here is an exception where failures are focused and we can name it as a failure resume. It is a document that lists out the number of times individuals have failed in their lives with an objective of key takeaways at the end. It should list out if there are any failures in the academic area such as failed to score high marks or failed to be a school topper. It should then focus on the failures in personal life. It could be about marriage, or career, or love or other debacles in personal life. Outline the failures in professional life. For instance, the examples in this category are inability to grow in career, inability to get along with colleagues or subordinates or superiors and inability to handle key challenges. Finally make a list of failures in your social life. Precisely, any failure resume should contain on four key areas such as academic, personal, professional and social life.

Once the list of failures is written in a resume format, then it is time to analyze why have you failed. You have to be impartial to make the exercise meaningful and successful. Were the failures due to dearth of your efforts or energies or due to the external forces and factors? If things went wrong due to your personal mistake it is time to pull up your socks. On the other hand, if it were due to external reasons beyond human control you don’t have to regret as most of the failures are the result of the same reasons. If you find that you have failed by repeating the same mistakes it is time to change your thinking and execution process. In contrast, if you failed differently, that means, you have tried worthwhile in your life and learnt lessons out of them.

Why a Failure Resume?

"Success is often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable." - Coco Chanel

Life is full of highs and lows. We cannot take the things for granted with growing uncertainty and complexity arising out of rapid technological changes.

A failure resume makes you more humble as it is full of tumbles in your life. It makes you to think more logically, analytically and improves your decision making skills. It makes you to empathize with others especially who failed in life. It connects you with others sympathetically thereby building good relations. It enhances your maturity levels and keeps you cool and composed whenever you are faced with failures in future.

Students and working professionals should be asked to write a resume of failures and it should be submitted to the potential recruiters. Currently few recruiters pose questions related to failures during employment interview. The same can be extended to writing a failure resume and submitting to the potential employers. ‘Failure resume’ can be prepared at any stage of life. I could be during your academic life or professional life. There is no specific time for learning mistakes in life.

How to Write a Failure Resume?

Writing a failure resume is a four step process where in the first column; write down what are the major failures in your life. In the second column, mention why have you failed? In the third column, state how you have failed and finally in the fourth column outline the lessons learnt from these failures.


"Whenever you make a mistake or get knocked down by life, don't look back at it too long. Mistakes are life's way of teaching you. Your capacity for occasional blunders is inseparable from your capacity to reach your goals. No one wins them all, and your failures, when they happen, are just part of your growth. Shake off your blunders. How will you know your limits without an occasional failure? Never quit. Your turn will come." - Og Mandino

Writing a failure resume is essential to everyone. It is a kind of intrapersonal feedback for improvement and career growth. It provides several meaningful takeaways. As organizations encourage self-appraisals after joining, they should insist on a failure resume before joining in their organizations from their potential candidates for bridging the failure rate and broadening the success rate.

The End

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is awesome advice. Loved this every word. Ravi