You Don’t Fail Unless You Give Up

Photo by me for  Sundara  at Z.P. Urdu School near Palghar, India

Photo by me for Sundara at Z.P. Urdu School near Palghar, India

Recently, I shared a story about how negativity is poison for your brain and some tips on how to clear it. It was a very personal story on how I had “failed” on three of my recent photography assignments and how I could only have negative thoughts as a result.

Digging myself out was not easy for me.

The failure was difficult to swallow and I was trying to come up with a multitude of ways to get out of my contract.

I was close to calling it a “failure”.

As Ray Dalio wrote in his book Principles: “You will think you have failed — but that won’t be true unless you give up”.

How many times have you considered failure to be an option?

How many times have you considered giving up?

How many times have you given up?

How did it feel?

Was it the right choice?

I’m in the camp that it’s okay to give up sometimes. It’s also okay to not give up. There’s no right or wrong. It’s circumstantial and personal.

The important thing is that you learn from the experience.

In which case, can you really call it a failure? Maybe it’s more of a failed experiment. And failed experiments are great.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” — Thomas A. Edison

See Edison’s persistence?

10,000 ways might be a little exaggerated, but the point is there: he never gave up on the things he believed in. Now we all know him for all the great things he did for humanity.

If Thomas Edison, Ray Dalio and all the great people who achieved so much in life tell me to not give up, I won’t give up.

Not Giving Up

That was my mentality going into my fourth assignment at the Z.P. Urdu school.

I dug into the “why” the other assignments were failed experiments. Some of the things were out of my control, but some of the things were my fault, and I took ownership of my mistakes.

In the previous assignments, I was using the wrong settings, relying on semi-automatic modes. As a result, a lot of my shots were too blurry.

Also, I was also not being assertive enough to tell people to do things for me. I was paralyzed by the fear of telling the wrong things and wasting people’s time. It was my first time directing a photoshoot after all.

I made myself a mental map of all the things I needed to do better for the next assignment.

I was pumped. I wanted to ace that next one.

I was positive and had a clear idea of how I could do better.

And I executed really well. I was so happy.

My photography really improved thanks to my past failed experiments. I wasn’t cocky in my abilities to take photos and approached the assignment with an opened mind.


If you really care about something, do yourself a favour and don’t give up on it.

Change your mentality. Don’t view failure as a negative experience, but rather a formative one. One that puts you back to reality, and shows you that there are always lessons to learn.

Life is a series of experiments, most of which will “fail”. Learn from these experiments, grow stronger, prosper.

Remember, it’s not a failure if you don’t give up.

Don’t give up on your dreams.

You can do this!

Thanks for reading and sharing! :)

First published here: