The results are out and yet a lot of learning remains. Most important of all is the knowledge that though we may set unreachable standards for ourselves and try to achieve them, we remain human and humans may be perfectly imperfect.
There is a beautiful story in the Bible with the help of which we can reflect on our failures and dwell on the saying which encourages us to do our best and leave the rest to God. It was at Lake Gennesaret that the disciples had let down their nets but failed to catch any fish. They had worked all night but the results were nil. Later we learn that Jesus after speaking to the crowds turned to Simon and told him to go deeper and lay down the nets assuring him that he would catch a lot of fish. It was obviously human for Simon to reply that he had already done that the previous night and caught nothing. But Simon didn’t stop there. What he did was to ‘not give up’ on the words of the Lord. What he said is what we need to focus on: “But if you say so, we’ll try again.” As author Stephen Richards says, “The true measure of success is how many times you can bounce back from failure.” It is this trying again and not giving up, that does the trick. The choice is always ours; whether we wish to dive deep in depressive thoughts of failure or we wish to fly high in the joy of hope is for us to decide.
While those who have achieved what they aspired to or more than that, there are quite a few who have been left behind wondering what went wrong. Well, it’s absolutely normal to not get what you want and in fact that leaves space to try again because it’s not the end of the world of learning. Even though one may practically be done with academic learning, life is an institution which has exams at every stage where the scores on paper don’t matter. What matters is our willingness to try again like Simon who said, ‘if you say so, we’ll try again’. The fun lies in what happened next. “And this time their nets were so full that they began to tear!”
A lot of our present day learning is limited to classrooms and question papers. But the world is a creation made out of great imaginative powers and if our system of education does not have any creative ability to admire and adjust to this creation, then our unimaginative super scores are of no guarantee to fetch us happiness; may be success in its dry sense, but without any flavour of joy in it. For in this creation, things change and every season has its own beauty. Nothing is permanent except our relationship with our creator. The Buddhists believe that everything in life is impermanent; even failure. When a disciple, after a year of listening to the Master’s lectures expressed his inability to understand and asked if all the teaching could be put in a nutshell, the Master simply said, “Everything changes” and asked for another question.
So now, what happens to all those thousands of students who have not done well? Must they give up on throwing their nets again into the water or must they without any distraction of disappointment go ahead and try all over again? The earth has a lot of trials and sorrows in it; but it is good to know that there is someone who has overcome the world.
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