F Stands for Feedback

Not for failure

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F Stands for Feedback

There are many reasons to love Apple photos, but the timeliness and relevance of its photo suggestions are above and beyond. Spending most of my time these days bound home, I view these photos as a reminder of a not-so-distant past and a harbinger of a better future—one where we will be able to meet our friends and travel again.

The photo above is particularly dear to me. I took it on my 30th birthday, atop a mountain overlooking the Costa del Sol in Southern Spain. Everything at this moment felt fantastic - the breathtaking view, the perfect weather, and my wife (then still girlfriend) next to me. What else could I wish for?

Little did I know that my wife and I would lose most of the money we'd brought on that trip later that day. With barely any cash left for a train ticket back to the airport, it was thanks to the generosity of her best friend that we managed to spend the remainder of our trip and fly safely back home.

In retrospect, this incident did not leave any lasting negative impression on me. It did teach me a couple of valuable lessons, though:

  • Things usually don't go 100% as planned, and that's OK
  • Because, for every screw-up, there is a precious picture like the one above to remember.

Every time I look at this photo, I remember the early morning sunshine, the breeze, and my wife celebrating my 30th-birthday with me atop of that mountain. Over time, the good impressions from the past get more robust, and the negative ones dissipate.

Let me put this story into perspective. Starting a business is not an easy endeavor. Most things will not go as planned, and that's OK. Whether we see such events as failures or as feedback, though, is entirely in our power. What we perceive as failure is rarely the objective truth. More often than not, it is an expression of our inability to match the expectations we had set out with.

One of my professors at university said that "F stands for feedback, not for failure." I wish I had spent more time back then to grasp the full wisdom of that sentence, rather than dismiss it as our teacher's way of telling us to try passing the exam again. But outside of the school environment, things never appear to be truly black or white. Rather, they are a varying hue of color, and it is up to us to determine what that color means for us.

Unlike the perfect world portrayed on social media, precious moments in life are backed up by solving problems and overcoming hurdles. That's what makes them worth the fight. Yet, no matter how difficult the issues, or how hard the struggle, what remains moving forward are the good memories and not the bad ones. So don't be disappointed when things don't turn out the way you expected. Learn from the feedback, change your approach, and try again.