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I stopped counting when I reached to driver’s test number 10 and failed. Each time I went to “pass out,” I would get anxious because I was afraid of what’s to come. I knew I wanted to get my driver’s test and I knew I had to do it, even if it meant me failing 100 times.

I remember on the second time I failed, I couldn’t help but cry my heart out. My eyes swelled with tears as I approached home. I told my dad the news and went to my room to let it out. While crying, my dad popped in the room and told me Mr. Kentucky’s story.

Apparently Colonel Harland Kentucky tried to sell his recipe to restaurant owners after he was retired and in need of money. He got 1009 “no” before he got a “yes”.

I didn’t want to hear that story, because it didn’t help me. It was however an interesting story to hear. Sometimes an interesting story allows you to forget about yourself and focus on something or someone else. At the time, I didn’t want to be like Mr. Kentucky and fail my driver’s 1009 times.Anyway, most people in my family knew I was trying to get my driver’s licence. Whenever people know you want to achieve something, they keep asking you, how far have you gotten. Some of my cousins laughed when I told them how many times I have failed. Eventually I told myself I will stop counting when I get to 10.

On the day I passed my driver’s test, I was my own coach. I sang gospel songs, I jumped around like a boxer, telling myself I can do this. It helped me overshadow the anxiety I normally felt.

The traffic officer who was with me, joked that I had failed. I believed her, but I still prayed, thanking God for allowing me to get through this experience. I had to with her, while she filled in forms and then she told me I had passed, she was joking.

For me, I was just happy that I made it through this experience very calmly. Well, this specific day was not the only time I was calm. On another day I was also calm, but nervous. Instead of saying my seat is adjusted correctly, I said my bum is adjusted correctly (direct Afrikaans translation: my sitvlak is gestel, in plaas van my sitplek is gestel.)

So, what have I learned?

  1. You must have a goal and be determined to do anything to achieve it.

I knew that to be a journalist I had to get a driver’s licence. A lot of professionals in the industry told me that your chances of getting a job will be slim if you do not have a driver’s licence.

  1. Sometimes the environment you’re in delays you to get to your goal.

I had so many driving instructors. Most of them taught me how to park my car a certain way. I think that is why I failed my driver’s test in the traffic department’s yard most of the time – I didn’t know how to get my car out of a position if I misjudged according to the instructor’s calculations. The last instructor taught me the right way: he said if you too close to a pole, turn your steering wheel the other way. That helped a lot!

  1. People will laugh when you fail, some will try to motivate you, but in the end you are your own enemy.

I could have given up at any time, because it looked like the universe was against me. It seemed like I was not meant to ever pass a driver’s test. In the end, I don’t know how I did it, but I made it.

  1. Be your own coach.

Even if you fail, try to be positive, praise God in your good and bad times. It does your soul good if you are positive.

Melissa Javan


About the writer:

Melissa Javan is a new mommy, a big failure at a lot of things but she tries not to give up. She currently lives with her husband and six month old daughter in Johannesburg.

Her blog Mels Postbox is found on Facebook or

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