Stories of Failure

Stories of Failure

Text: Pulkit Soni

In the dog eat dog atmosphere of education in India, one thing that we fail to teach our children is failing and handling failure. Failure is a part of human existence, all successes may not have shaped the world as we see today. The only real failure that there is in the world is the failure to fight back, the failure to emerge as a better person every time. We as a society are unequipped to handle failure, the start-up ecosystem in India identifies inability to digest failure as one of the biggest contributors to slow growth and lack of innovation. True innovation isn’t possible without failing, as the saying goes, “If you don’t fail, you haven’t tried hard enough”. Coming to the design industry, newness and innovation are indispensable to the field. Success has no definition here without innovation, it becomes all the more important to be able to handle failure.

It is disheartening to see young professionals or students being unable to handle failure. The way our minds have been moulded we often equal academic failure with real life failure, in most cases the two are unrelated. Securing a degree cannot be taken on the face value as the sign of not failing, resorting to unfair means to secure a degree on the other hand is a real failure. Coming to professional space, there is an increasing trend of architecture firms flexing their muscles to call off competitions that they don’t win or adapting unfair means to bypass the competition. While this may bring short term success to the firm, but in an increasingly globalized and competitive world it is the Indian Architectural fraternity that is going to be on the losing end. Failure in the design field isn’t just about losing design competitions, it may also include financial failures, mishandling of projects, failure to stand up and voice opinions over matters of injustice.  

The first step towards handling any problem is opening up, establishing a dialogue and finally working together towards possible solutions. We, at ArchitectureLive! are deeply passionate about education and architecture. With this we mark the beginning of a new segment called “Stories of Failure”. In this segment we would be inviting views and stories of failure from students, faculties and architecture professionals (people without degrees included) in India. We believe that sharing stories of failure doesn’t make us weak, it brings us one step closer to be better. At the same time stories of overcoming failure may inspire other people to overcome their own, so we request to share your story with us. We’d also try to reach out to psychologists and researchers to discuss strategies to handle failure which might be beneficial for students in general. We hope that this effort is able to bring some positive change or at least generate awareness among people within the fraternity.

At the end we’d quote Rita Zahara, “Don’t ever let anyone turn your sky into a ceiling”. (although that’s pretty much the job of architects in literal sense)

Anchor points: design brief, distribution of work, financial mismanagement, due diligence, design choices, interpersonal skills, decision making, design communication

Do you have a story of failure to share with us? Please share it below. Selected stories will be featured on Leewardists and ArchitectureLive! platforms.


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