[Outlook]Small fires of success

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[Outlook]Small fires of success

This year now has one month left. People are wearing gloomy expressions as if the cold weather has frozen not only their bodies but also their minds. I would like to ask them, “How many times have you failed this year?”
People have failed to find employment. People have lost their jobs. Some people’s marriages have fallen apart. Some did not pass college entrance exams. Some have seen what they had longed for turn out to be nightmares.
Failures are everywhere. Some gave up in marathons after running 40 kilometers, and some had final job interviews only to find out they did not get the jobs. They are not the result of bad luck. They are a list of failures.
These days, success is not only a concern shared by everyday people but also a pledge in the presidential election campaign.
Talking about failure is regarded as a taboo, so much so that even the American sociologist Richard Sennett said the word failure arouses discomfort in people more than most other words in modern society.
Everybody wants their resumes to be a series of successes. But even resumes that are full of successes have failures written between the lines. Success is the result of overcoming failures. It never magically appears out of nowhere.
People are ashamed of their failures so they are desperate to erase them on their official records.
But the only way to erase failures is to defeat them. The way to defeat failure is to rekindle the dying fire of success that each failed attempt contains.
Every failure has a small fire of success so we must carry on after failure. To give up after failing is to forget the future.
Usually, people think they failed because they are incapable, so they are ashamed of failures and try hard to hide them.
Many think that to reveal failure is the same as showing their inability to all other people. As a result, failure becomes a secret that nobody else knows.
Even the person who failed totally ignores it for the rest of his life. It is not that the person has overcome the failure with a new resolution and ambition, rather they have simply ignored it and pretended it never even happened.
Then failure repeats itself and ruins the person’s life even more in the end.
People are accustomed to making a list of successes and documenting them. But if you want to become more successful, you need to make a list of failures and document them.
A person who makes a list of success and hands it to others is a great person.
However, a person who can make a list of failures with honesty is even greater. The moment one writes down his list of failures, he begins to defeat the dreadful memories.
At the same time, the process of achieving true success and victory based on determination begins.
It is not only about individuals. All organizations and companies can do the same, making a list of their failures and writing reports on them. They can find new ambition and a new vision.
This is the last month of the year. We have the presidential election ahead and probably many parties to celebrate that one year is ending and another beginning.
But we must not waste this precious month. Instead, we can make a list of failures in great detail and find out what we did wrong, in a cool and disciplined manner.
Next year will be even harsher, so we must not repeat the same mistakes and failures that we made this year.
We must find the small fires of success in our failures and reclaim our destinies. Everybody is afraid to fail. Nobody wants to think again about past failures.
But if one wants to break the pattern of failure and become truly successfully, one must be honest about one’s failures and remember them vividly.
That is the way to make a better future.

*The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Chung Jin-hong
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