In High School I became extremely competitive in achieving top grades. In one particular semester I worked so hard that I did not expect to come any lower than second in the class. What do you think happened? I ended up failing in English, a subject that I dreaded I simply could not make any sense of it. A black cloud of depression hung over me and for a number of nights that followed , I found it difficult to sleep. Certain of my classmates even took pleasure in my failure. What had occurred had been something totally unexpected . I became gloomy and sad for the next few days. A teacher noticed the state I was in and tried his best to encourage me and give me comfort .
Whenever this time of life comes back to me I am astonished at how gravely it affected me. The depression into which I fell did not help in the least, and it had no effect whatsoever in changing my failing grade into a passing one.
What I want to say to you is this: Do not think that if you become depressed or downcast because of failure, you will suddenly achieve success. It won ‘t happen . The only effect that such gloom can have upon you is to make your failure more complete.
When I had completed my masters thesis I was hoping to get an
‘A’ grade. I thought my work was deserving of an ‘A,’ but in the end I only got a ‘B.’ I overreacted when this happened and I became extremely agitated over my grade. A sensible friend of mine said to me, “Suppose, that for one reason or another, you had never completed your masters degree. What would you have done? Furthermore , what difference does it really make whether you get an ‘A’ or a ‘B’: you still have a Masters degree.” What he said was obviously true and I returned to my senses. I now realize that the best way of dealing with similar situations is to be prepared in advance for the worst possible results.
I took away a good lesson from this experience. When the time came to submit my doctoral thesis, the faculty delayed the date of submission for a long time. My thesis was already finished and well prepared. Because I was ready for anything, their delaying me did not have a great effect on me.
Whoever is mentally prepared for bankruptcy in his business will not worry over a partial loss.
Excerpt from “Dont be Sad”