Failure & Success

By Jia Jia Toh

For many students, high school/university has finished for the year and results have been published. For some, the outcome may be good, and for others, the outcome may not be as we had hoped. When we do not receive the outcome we want, our emotions tend to take over and feelings of frustration, anger and sadness may arise. This is not just limited to school results, but rather, anything that could get in the way of our success and happiness can cause us to doubt our own capabilities and point blame at others.

One thing that Buddhism teaches us is to reflect on ourselves, realise where we had gone wrong, and change it. This could mean changing our habitual tendencies and self-reflecting using introspection in order to find the cause of our mistakes. This then makes the mistake valuable, as learning from where we went wrong will build the foundation for our future successes and allow us to mature as a person. Thus, our mistakes become successes as well.

As Reverend Ming-An Chen once said,

“A person who faces setbacks and failures, but lacks the ability to self-reflect, has definitely conceded total defeat to their failures. A truly successful person is able to self-reflect amidst failures and setbacks. He/she examines the causes and consequences of his/her failures and becomes more mature than before. As these setbacks and failures leave no scars in his/her heart and mind, he/she instead becomes more experienced and courageous. Most people think it is not possible, that is why few succeed.”

When faced with failures and setbacks, it can be challenging and we often find it easier to just give up, but we must remember not to fall victim to our failures and mistakes. We need to see through hardships and setbacks, and transform them into positive mindset and concepts. When we fail, we must observe ourselves. Just being able to do so is a success in itself.


“A successful person finds solutions. A failure finds excuses.” – Reverend Ming-An Chen

In order to change, we need to change our mindset. If we do not do so, our mentality, lifestyle and conduct will remain static despite our best wishes to change.

I hope this message serves as a confidence booster for anyone who feels dejected about any hardship in life.



* Becoming Wise – 80 practical words of wisdom essential to inner growth, peace and happiness in everyday life. By Reverend Ming-An Chen

* Sprouting Your Wisdom Life – 100 practical words of wisdom essential to growth, happiness and everyday life. By Reverend Ming-An Chen