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Nobody likes to fail, but aren’t more people among the young so terribly afraid of failure that they don’t do, and can’t accomplish, anything? If you fret about the results before beginning things, you’ll never be able to do anything.

In any case, first give it your best shot and see what happens, and if you don’t get the results you’ve hoped for, you can give it another try. Even Shakyamuni Buddha did this. For six years he pursued harsh ascetic practices that could have taken years off his life but abandoned them once he realized they were not the way to enlightenment.

We think it’s a tremendous failure if all the trouble someone goes through to graduate from a university doesn’t contribute to their advancement. But unless you have toiled for several years at college you are in no position to tell if it is a waste of time or not.

There is nothing in this world which is useless or a waste of time, because success is the flip side of these failures.

Shakyamuni Buddha’s enlightenment would have been unattainable without those six years he risked his life practicing asceticism.

What looks like success or failure in our eyes are two sides of the same coin. We never ever forget the lessons we learn through the humiliation of failure. If we give everything our best, our failures will lead to success, and if we are arrogant about our successes then failure awaits us.

Nikkyo Niwano

From Kaisozuikan 9 (Kosei Publishing Co. 1997), pp 16-17