Author: Dr. Ajit Varwandkar

Once Laddu Pinto came to me and said, “I am a successful failure. Can you guide me to select the right career path ahead?” The use of the word success as an adjective for failure was unique. I was alerted and glued to the concern shared by Laddu. I asked him to meet me in person. 

I had a rendezvous with Laddu, who briefed me about his past. His first ever failure was when he was in his school. He was elected as the school head boy in class 12th. However, the next day of this declaration, the school management decided to cancel his candidature for academic reasons. Someone else was given a chance. Laddu got disappointed because of this decision.

Laddu wanted to join IIT Mumbai and had prepared well for the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE). He cleared the first JEE Mains barrier and secured a decent rank. However, on the day the ‘JEE Advance examination was scheduled, he had a fever and could not even appear for the test. 

Laddu had to join one of the National Institute of Technology (NIT). As a bargain to get admission to that institution, he had to compromise on the branch of study. Somehow, he spent four years on campus and started looking for employment. A renowned organisation offered him a job during a campus interview. However, luck was not on his side, it seems. With the outbreak of Covid, that job option was put on hold by the employer.

After a few months, Laddu somehow managed to get another job with a Start-Up company. Eventually, that organisation became cash-starved, and the management refused to honour salary commitment. By now, Laddu had lost all his patience and had become desperate for success. When no other job option was available, he started with his consultancy. He was now an entrepreneur by compulsion. The road ahead was challenging for him because the competition was tough.

After having listened to Laddu’s woes, I gave him a task. I asked him to bring one football and a brick. Both of us went into a jungle. I had spotted a dry pit out there. I asked Laddu to first drop the brick in the pit. He did it. After some time, I asked him to drop the football into the pit.

I requested Laddu to elaborate on his observation. He said the brick fell and broke into pieces, but the ball bounced back. I asked him to explain this phenomenon. He said, “Since the brick had a heavy mass, it went down with force and collided with the ground. However, since the ball was light and had air inside, it jumped up into the sky as soon as it touched the ground!

Friends, the message is hidden in the above experiment. Never carry the baggage of your past failures. Every time, you are unsuccessful in something, extract the learning and forget the experience. I know it is easier said than done. Well, accumulating the mass of past failures will only add vulnerability to your efforts. You might become brittle and eventually break.

I suggested Laddu start fresh. I asked him to give his best in the new endeavour, but this time without any baggage of past failures. Excess emphasis on the emotions of previous attempts will only kill your enthusiasm and energy. The better strategy is to be like a ball. While the outer cover remains intact, it only allows air to get inside! Your levels of hope, enthusiasm and inspiration remain intact.

Do contact me in case you have any career queries.

Dr. Ajit Varwandkar is the Director of He is a leading career counselor and can be contacted on 9826132972 or email him at

This column was originally published by the author in The Times of India