Learning to Fail

Why is it important that we sometimes fail in our professional as well as private life? And more important how should we deal with failures in order to transform them into a solid foundation of experience which enables a steady personal growth and sustainable successes?

In this first article I will show you some famous examples of failures and come up with a handful of simple conclusions about the right mindset of dealing with failures.

When it comes to extraordinary intelligence Albert Einstein needs to be mentioned. However, the famous explorer of the theory of general relativity, struggled to speak fluently when he was a child. Furthermore he was expelled from school and did not manage to get the admittance to the prestigious Zurich Polytechnic School. Despite (or due to) all the obstacles he won the Nobel Price in Physics in the early twenties. After all he was a strong believer of:

 “success is failure in progress”. – Albert Einstein

Another school leaver was Walt Disney. After dropping out of school he also failed to join the army. Since he wasn’t equipped with a rucksack of valuable business experience he later failed in on of his early ventures, Laugh-O-Gram Studios, which eventually went bankrupt. After all these failures he was unbelievably successful with creating Disney Studios and therefore to father Mickey Mouse, Snow White and Frozen. His mantra was:

“We don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney

The third famous person was fired from his own company, which he founded in his parent’s garage. Later he also failed with several other companies. Thereafter he returned to his first company and lead it to unprecedented success in the modern consumer electronics market. Of course we are talking of Steve Jobs and his Apple.

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.” -Steve Jobs

Final Conclusion:

After all it turns out that failing can be a great teacher to improve yourself if you derive the right conclusions and take action. Therefore I’ve collected, in my option, the most import points as a take away message:

  • To initially fail a few times makes you succeed faster and more sustainable later on.

  • Fail early! Better jump in the cold water early than making failures with big consequences later on.
  • Fail smart! Anticipate the risks before acting, share your lessons learned with your colleagues.
  • Fail more often! Especially when the consequences are low or even not existing. This will tremendously steepen your learning curve.
  • Never make a failure twice!

This is my first post 🙂 If you found it useful please leave a comment and give me your feedback.


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