From the Viewsroom

From the Viewsroom: Success and failure

Sandhya Rao | Updated on March 09, 2018 Published on September 17, 2017

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Indian youth don’t know how to treat these two impostors alike

The tragic suicide of a young girl who didn’t get a seat in medical college has ramifications too nuanced to discuss in 300 words. However, it draws attention to an important aspect of life, at least in India, today: the increasing inability of young people to deal with failure.

According to studies, India records the most number of suicides a year in South-East Asia; and it is among the top worldwide. Further, for all the talk of the advantages of the demographic dividend, the majority of suicides occur among those between 15 and 29 years of age — 35.5 for every lakh population, according to WHO. Even if we were to set aside predisposition, depression, and instances particular to the agrarian sector, this trend should set alarm bells ringing. Whether it’s family problems, illness, failed love affairs, poor exam results, unwanted pregnancies, unemployment, young people seem to lack staying power these days. Fear of failure has taken them over.

Normally, it is logical to assume that failure is a more likely consequence than success, whatever the situation/circumstance. There was a time you tried, tried, tried again, and when something didn’t work out, you dusted yourself down and got on with life. Some ego bruising, some lessons learned, you moved on, either to give up or take another shot. No longer, it appears.

It seems that one of the major reasons for the inability to absorb and learn from failure is intense psychological pressure: from parents, society, peers, teachers, bosses. Perform or perish is what you’re told right from childhood; the only acceptable result is grand success. It has to be top school, top marks, top dancer, top singer, top lover…. Nothing less is tolerable or tolerated. Or so young people seem to have been led to believe. There’s no room for error, no sympathy for mistakes. Surely this is a terrible burden for young people to carry.

Sandhya Rao Editorial Consultant

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Published on September 17, 2017
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