It’s the setback that sets you up.
Ask people who’ve been successful all their life, and they’ll say they’ve spent a lifetime begin embarrassed.
It’s a strange paradox. We spend all our energy to scale the summit of success, only to realize that the steps are made of the scattered shards and pieces of our confidence.
Let’s pick up each piece, treasure it and save it in our innermost sanctum. Our heart’s locker. Because each is priceless. Each carries the lessons of blood, the wisdom of toil, the insight of tears and the dividends of sweat shed over the years. Presenting our case. Polishing our passion. Perfecting our act.
After all, life doesn’t come with ready answers. We don’t get a manual on the ‘first day at work’, so to speak. Each of us has to script our own DIY file (and keep updating the version regularly).
Embarrassment is the code that helps us build that winning manual of a software – one pickle, one blush, one heartbreak at a time.
Contrary to popular belief, we all DO come with a red carpet in life. It’s just we must find it, before walking its magical welcome. This is a life’s search – indeed, a hunt – best done via trial and error. Trying new bends. Daring new trials. Falling short of expectations. Copping full-on failures.
There’s risk at every step. Naturally, there’s embarrassment at every turn.
Sometimes we risk relationships. Sometimes we risk privacy. Sometimes we risk being called a fake. At all times, we risk an emotional collapse. Embarrassment is the litmus test that announces that we’re doing both the least and best we possibly can: Try.
That egg on our face. That tomato on our hair. That criticism layered like an onion. Sure, they leave a bitter aftertaste on the stage. But some day, it’ll lead to the perfect omelette. And taste quite divine. Because the recipe is secret. Signature. All our own.
The message is simple: If you’re willing to break, you’ll be ready to make.
Embarrassment can often also be the function of leading a life that’s selectively, preferentially honest. Where we believe in horses for courses. Choose the white lie to avoid the red of bloodbath (ensuring the least collateral damage).
Legendary strategists like Chanakya, Julius Caesar and Alexander The Great have been a fan of the strategy. Which makes this perfectly par for the course. As long as we are ready to take the barbs bravely.
Sure, embarrassment is experienced negatively. But it can be a strong indicator of positivity. Embarrassment is a signifier that our principles and aspirations are in sync with society’s values. And that falling out of line jars us sufficiently to unsettle us emotionally. Which makes it a great test of both self awareness and collaborative intent (the stuff teamwork is made of). Proof that the individual is ‘one of the guys’. And, by extension, more relatable, likeable and dependable.
Embarrassment is, perhaps most critically, a validation of our desire to rise about the ordinary, ride roughshod over convention, and soar a bigger sky. The pursuit of greatness, by definition, is about rubbing society against the grain. The reaction can be all too brutal. The sense of bashfulness can be all too real.
So, indeed, will the sense of achievement.