Dr. Abdul Kalam's inspirational speech

“Don’t read success stories, you will only get a message. Read failure stories, you will get some ideas to get success”

As the famous quote by Dr. Abdul Kalam states, failures strengthen us, educate us, and make us think about the new way of doing things.

I would like to share one of the famous speeches by Abdul Kalam where he is talking about a failure story of a Satellite launch when he was deployed as a mission director at Sriharikota and how he faced the failure for the first time in his life.

Dr. Abdul Kalam's inspirational speech

This incident belongs to 1979, during the SLV-3 launch. A mission where thousands of people worked for nearly 10 years to put the satellite into an orbit. Any satellite launch involves heavy funding, time, and efforts. Dr. Abdul Kalam was managing this critical mission, all the arrangements were in place and the time was ticking. When only a few seconds left to go, the team observes some technical glitch on the computer screen and the glitch was something to do with oil leakage in the control system. Dr. Kalam and the team do quick calculations and come to the conclusion that there is sufficient fuel to launch the satellite even after small oil leaks but the final decision whether to go ahead with the mission or not was lying in the hands of Dr. Kalam. If you don’t launch, the ISRO would lose the trust of the public and government, if you launch and get failed, years of effort and millions of bucks would go in vain. Of course, it’s a difficult decision to make and finally, Dr. Kalam says “YES”.

The decision was made and the satellite was initiated. It’s a 4 stage satellite. The first stage worked as expected and in the second stage it started spinning madly, the satellite fell into the Bay of Bengal. Dr. Kalam experienced “FAILURE” for the first time in life. Followed by the launch, the team was scheduled to address a press conference. A lot many media persons were gathered to cover the satellite launch. Dr. Kalam was totally frightened. He knew only to manage the success but had no clue how to face the failure.

Dr. Satish Dhawan, then chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) came to Dr. Kalam and said come let’s face the press. Media persons criticized the ISRO and the mission, they questioned for throwing away millions of money. Dr. Dhawan answered calmly “We have failed today, I take the blame and I applaud my team for putting all their efforts, we will come back very soon with our next project and we will succeed in this”

The next year, on Jul 18, 1980, the ISRO team came up with the second version of SLV-3, carrying Rohini Satellite-1. It was successfully launched and placed into an orbit. The satellite carried Digital sun sensor, Magnetometer, and temperature sensors.

After the successful launch, the dynamic leader Dr. Dhawan once again came to Dr. Kalam and asked him to go alone and conduct the press conference. The leader was available during failure and he took all the blame but during the success, he asked his team to face the press.

Watch the video footage of Dr. Abdul Kalam explaining the same incident:


Some Inspiring Quotes about Failure:

“Failure will never overtake me if my definition to succeed is strong enough” – Og Mandino

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein

“Don’t worry about failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try.” – Jack Canfield

“Successful people don’t fear failure but understand that it’s necessary to learn and grow from.” – Robert Kiyosaki

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