Life Lessons

The Most Underrated Word of the 21st Century

I failed my driving test today for the second time. It doesn’t matter how, but it got me thinking that maybe it happened for a reason. Maybe, it finally got me to start this blog – and so it has.

As I was driving back after the test, I remember thinking, “I’m a failure”, “I’ve failed again” and “I can’t even pass my driving test the second time.” I was beating myself up, but more importantly I kept wondering what other people would think. What my parents would say, how my friends would mock me or even what my driving instructor would think. I realised that I shouldn’t be doing this for validation. I should be doing this to pass my test, I should be doing this for myself – so I can drive legally. (I can actually drive, some aggressive Mercedes driver just spooked the Examiner and me – I forgive you.)

This is what has held me back with this blog, that people will look at it and laugh or mock it behind my back. But like my failed driving test, I’m not doing this for their validation. I’m doing this for myself and hopefully along the way, you, my readers, my companions along this journey of mine will learn from what I discover about myself.

For now, what I realised is that validation from others is not a primary motivator, it’s not even a secondary or even a minor motivator. If it is, one’s perception of failure is negative. We fear the judgement of others. We fear that others will think negatively of us because of our failure. If validation is your motivator then failure will hit you like a train (like it did for me today). You’ll stay down longer. And you might not get back up. And who knows what you’ll miss out on. That is a far scarier thought.

Failure is the most underrated word of the 21st Century. Failure in today’s society is about shame, anger and humiliation – all words that lower our level of consciousness and self-esteem. But failure is what makes us change, it’s what makes us adapt but more importantly it’s what makes us learn.

Change your primary motivator from external validation to improving oneself. Accept Failure as an Ally and become a Life Learner.


Feel free to share any stories below in the comments section.




2 thoughts on “The Most Underrated Word of the 21st Century”

  1. Tristan, you learn more from failure than you do from success. The trick is, when you lose, don’t lose the lesson. It looks like you are starting to understand that. This is a brave post for your first blog; it certainly shows courage but also that you have you looked deeper into the situation and the purpose of failure. I believe everything happens for a reason. The incident with the Mercedes is an important lesson; it shows that no doubt whilst you can drive quite competently, you may not be quite ready to handle a sudden dangerous road situation. I suspect few new drivers can; they don’t teach this in driving lessons – sometimes you need to make a split second decision and I don’t think an ’emergency stop’ really covers it. But now, next time it happens, you will be prepared, handle it well and probably save your life and others in the process.


    1. Jane, thank you for the comment. I completely agree with you. I was spooked during the driving test and maybe that needs to be somehow incorporated into learning how to drive. My sister had an accident after passing her test. It was caused by a sudden emergency situation along country roads. She reacted to the situation well but still crashed (thankfully she was unhurt). I know in Swedish driving lessons they make you lose control of the car in a safe environment, so you have an idea of what to do to gain back the control of the car. Maybe something like that needs to be included in British driving lessons. But like you said everything happens for a reason (it’s what I believe too), and I’ve gained some valuable experience of what to do in a sudden dangerous situation.


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