Accepting (and forgiving) yourself.

Closed-book assessments don’t sit well with me.

3 min readJul 14, 2020


Last Monday, I took the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner Exam, after spending two weeks of learning (memorizing?) information about AWS that I’m not sure I’ll remember in 2 months.

I also spent another week taking practice exams, barely making the passing mark on most of them. Needless to say, I wasn’t exactly feeling confident going into the real thing.

It was a stressful 100 minutes, compounded by the fact that I couldn’t think out loud like I usually do with online exams during COVID, since a proctor had access to my webcam and microphone.

Poor guy, probably got an earful of my incessant under-the-breath swearing.

An hour later, a ping from my inbox: Congratulations, you are now AWS certified!

I should be happy at this point, but instead, I was disappointed in myself.

Why? The on-boarding document from my company suggested it should take one week for interns to be AWS certified.

What’s the point of feeling good about my accomplishment, if I should have completed it in less time?


I failed to meet my running target last Friday.

5 sub-9:30 miles is the target, one that I’ve consistently met for the past three months.

First two miles went well, sub 9 minutes for each.

The heavy breathing started towards midway mile 3. That’s weird, I thought, doesn’t usually happen this early. I continued pushing on.

All good though. Strava says 9:20 for mile 3.

My lungs were burning throughout mile 4. My legs were numb and I thought I was going to faint by the end of the mile.

10:05 for mile 4. I had missed the target by a margin. I was so dejected, I walked back to the house without finishing the last mile.

What’s the point of finishing the run? I couldn’t even stick to a consistent target.


I started writing this article on Saturday, still perplexed as to why I didn’t meet my target the day before. Finished the day with less than 100 words on the screen.

I continued on Sunday, a much more productive day of writing. I even found out a reason why my conditioning was so poor on Friday. The wonders of a simple search on Google.

What changed on Sunday?

I accepted what happened with my run, and I forgave myself for it.

Regardless of how much I beat myself up over my run on Friday, it won’t change the fact that I didn’t finish 5 miles.

The best thing I can do is pat myself on the back for going on the run, and try my best to meet the target next time.

Similarly, regardless of how disappointed I feel about the exam, it won’t change the fact that I spent two weeks more than I “should have”.

The best thing I can do is celebrate my accomplishment and use what I learned to my advantage.


Thanks for reading! More of a “note to self” kind of story this time round, slightly different than the first article.

Nevertheless, if I’ve helped someone achieve a positive outlook on a negative event by writing this, great! If not, life is good anyways 👍

This article was inspired by David and Joseph, 2 LinkedIn content creators and young professionals in the product management field I look up to.

I was also inspired by Sophie A., who wrote an article about the importance of self-forgiveness. Check out her article here!

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Have a great week!