To celebrate Winston Churchill’s eightieth birthday, the British parliament commissioned artist Graham Sutherland to paint a portrait of the celebrated statesman. “How are you going to paint me?” Churchill reportedly asked the artist: “As a cherub or the Bulldog?” Churchill liked these two popular perceptions of him. Sutherland, however, said he would paint what he saw.
Churchill was not happy with the results. Sutherland’s portrait had Churchill slumped in a chair we
aring his trademark scowl—true to reality, but hardly flattering. After its official unveiling, Churchill hid the painting in his cellar. It was later secretly destroyed.
Like Churchill, most of us have an ideal image of ourselves in our mind, quite different to our reality, and we want people to recognize us with that image — whether of success, godliness, beauty, or status etc. We potentially go to great lengths to conceal our “ugly or sometimes weaker” sides, perhaps we do it as deep down we fear we won’t be loved or valued if the real us is known because of those emotional instabilities, undesired physical features, and many mistakes and failures of the past.
Well, there are certain things you can’t change, as the shape of your chin or bring a new cute little dimple. But you sure can become better and more than your past mistakes, failures and emotional instabilities.
I understand It’s not easy to accept our own failures. Yet failure, I like to call it temporary defeat, is a good friend teaching you to move towards your Wins.
You know I’ve had a lot of defeats myself. But they were not given a chance to override my life. In my school days, I was a boy who felt he was a stout (though I wasn’t physically), and someone to be feared and respected. I remember when I failed to clear my 7th grade, I felt devastated. To my consciousness this was the first time in my life I had failed in something and felt miserable, this came in as an embarrassment which I couldn’t hide, fear of humiliation and rejection engulfed my mind.
I realized it wasn’t the end and it is temporary defeat in my studies, now it was time for me to repeat the 7th grade, with no other option in hand. The following day, I had to start my 7th grade again with all the passing students from 6th grade. To add to my embarrassment of the defeat I faced, the girl who got the 1st rank came distributing chocolates to the whole class to celebrate her success. Personally, at that age, it was humiliating to even take the chocolate and I told her, “I’m sorry I don’t want it. “Why not?”, she asked. I said“I failed (Feeling ashamed)”, “It’s okay, please take it” she insisted. The denial and the insistence continued for a while. At such a point, with an effort to get rid of her from my sight, I took the chocolate but I never ate it, I threw it away. Anyways looking back at how I reacted, with more understanding I have today, I would rather responded differently and better.
This phase of my life gave me an important realization of what I was with respect to my studies, which later translated into lessons to various part of my life. I quickly accepted my misses and poor preparation that led to this temporary defeat. It also taught me how to handle further defeats in life.
That day I made a decision that I will never let myself fail in my grades whatsoever. So I kept up myself with good scores to keep me going forward every year. Since then I have never failed in my studies.
What I learned:
- My lackadaisical attitude or baseless confidence can put me into defeat
- It gave me an appetite to fail but not to become a failure, making failure a feedback for my success
- To be willing to accept my defeats and take responsibility to bounce back and not to repeat the same mistakes
- To understand failing is not to put me down but to show me my reality or/and to add to my experience
- To be conscious of my actions, so that I am intentional about my Wins and Growth
Now you see it’s okay to let yourself free. But trying to show yourself as something which you are not could bind you into an unreal person. The good news is, you can become what you think you want to become; a good child, leader, pilot or any other professional or you name it… Make a decision to become the person you want to become. It will not happen overnight because we don’t live in a fairy-tale, but instantly, you can begin the process and certainly in time, with discipline and patience, you will see everyone recognizing You of what You’ve become. You will get for what you become, not what you think you want to become.
3 steps to paint yourself:
- Think what you want to become
- Make a decision today, to become what you want to become
- Follow up with intentional daily activities that will make you become what You want to become
I hope You enjoyed reading just as much as I enjoyed writing.
If you learned something and think this can be of value or help others, please share it.
To your success!