Questioner: Who fails? The person or the self?
Maharaj: The question is wrongly put. There is no question of failure, neither in short run nor in the long. It is like traveling a long and arduous road in an unknown country. Of all the innumerable steps there is only the last which brings you to your destination. yet you will not consider all previous steps as failures. Each brought you nearer to your goal, even when you had to turn back to bypass an obstacle. In reality each step brings you to your goal, because to be always on the move, learning, discovering, unfolding, is your eternal destiny. Living is life's only purpose. The self does not identify itself with success or failure -- the very idea of becoming this or that is unthinkable. The self understands that success and failure are relative and related, that they are the very warp and weft of life. Learn from both and go beyond. If you have not learnt, repeat. -- Excerpt from I Am That: Talks With Sri Nasargadatta Maharaj
I really enjoyed how he corrects the question. Sometimes we are so busy in life, that we fail to recognize that the question is pulling us away from the meaning, such as how success may be defined. To some success is defined by money, to others it is defined by the impact they make. That is more of a superficial level of definitions, but it is a start of awareness.
The deeper level is when the question itself attempts to cage us into success and failure beings. It is an important lesson to learn; if the question is wrong, then the answer certainly cannot be correct. Meaning, if there is no failure or success to the self, then there is only a journey.
My favorite part of this excerpt: "Learn from both and go beyond. And if you haven't learned, repeat." Wisdom says that life will repeat circumstances until we learn the lesson that will enrich our lives.
If we look at it that way, then it's always a win win for us.