All labour, yet no less
Bear up beneath their unsuccess.
Look at the end of work, contrast
The petty done, the vast undone.
Life is not all rose-colour. Failure is a common phenomenon in life. Who has not encountered it? Many try but few succeed. What hand and brain went ever paired, asks Browning, and undoubtedly almost every one fails to secure what he wants.
There is nothing wrong about failure. Failures are an earnest of higher achievements. Almost every failure is a steeping stone to success. But that is one thing. For the man who strives after a lofty. ideal there is no failure. “In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.” We should aim high, or in Emerson’s words, “hitch our wagon to a star.” The very effort is fulfilment, a triumph. Life is meant for venture. The great thing is aspiration. For centuries great men have tried to teach this philosphy of failure. Carlyle, Browning, and a host of others preach the same high faith. “He who aims at a star, shoots higher than he who strikes a tree,” says a Persian proverb. In estimating success or failure, therefore, we should not forget the end in view, the ideal before the warriors, “Sometime a noble failure service the world as faithfully as a distinguished success.” Those who die after great causes never die. “To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive.” says Stevenson. This is very true. Expection is keener than enjoyment. We should never mind a failaure; after all the glory lies in the pursuit of the ideal, not in attaining it.
Be it jewel or toy,
Not the prize gives the joy,
But the striving to win the prize.
It is not, therefore, the prize or the success that matters so much as the quality of the fight-the endeavour put forth to achieve the aim. Who can be said to have lived a better life? Not one who has successfully struggled after little things of life, but one who has pursued noble ideals without, what the vulgars call success. The value of life is not to be measured by the degree of success or failure.
There is a poem written “For Those Who Fail” a few lines would bear repetition.
“All honour to him who shall win the prize,”
The world has cried for a thousand years.
But to him who tries and fails and dies,
There is no failure of or the brave who alms high.
Failures mould character and teach us to learn from our errors. A failure establishes only the fact that our determination to succeed was not strong enough, and thus serves as a sort of spure to greater effort.
A low aim is the index of a petty mind, but high aims and lofty purposes indicate high characters. It is a sad thing to begin with low ideals in life. High ideals may be unattainable, but that is no argument for not pursuing them. As a nation we have only recently turned over a new leaf. We have embodied certain provisions in our Constitution and made promises which are beyond fulfillment, but that should not daunt us. We should not forget the advice of J. Hawes, ‘Aim at the sun, and you may not reach it; but your arrow will fly far higher than if aimed at an object on a level with yourself.