DO YOU NEED TO FAIL IN ORDER TO SUCCEED?

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How to grow your idea into something bigger?

From an early age, we are conditioned to see failure as a disaster. Societal pressure gets in our heads, and we see failing as something to be ashamed of, and to be avoided at all costs.

But in reality, while failure can be embarrassing in the short-term, it is actually one of the best ways to grow towards long-term, sustained success. When it comes to business, far from being something to avoid, failure can be the spark that leads people to succeed.

So what IS wrong with failure?

In reality, there is nothing wrong with failure by itself. Everyone fails at things now and again, and not being immediately successful can be an important part of a learning process.

However, how people respond to failure is where negative impacts can occur. Everyone sees the world through the filter of their own experiences, based on the information and data they have in front of them. The experiences you get from failing can be extremely valuable, as long as your response and reaction to it is positive.

Part of the problem, however, is the societal pressure, and shame, that comes attached to failing. Because we are conditioned to see failure as shameful, and be embarrassed about it, people often react poorly, fail to analyse their experiences properly, and don’t learn the valuable lessons that failure can teach them. People often emphasise failure (in themselves and in others) while minimising success, which again can lead to a poor attitude towards achievement.

How does society’s view of failure impact us?

Because failure is seen as such a problem, people tend to overemphasise the need to avoid it at all costs. People become obsessed, not with succeeding, but rather with avoiding failure. This can lead to some hugely toxic and unhelpful behaviour (examples like helicopter parenting and micromanagement), and a lot of emotional baggage. Moving past this, and being able to put failure into perspective, can be a hugely rewarding experience. Being terrified of failure leads to an extremely risk-averse approach, which is not at all conducive to business success.

What are the positives that can come from failing?

Learning from mistakes is the best way to avoid making similar mistakes in the future. Failing builds character, and coming back from a failure stronger is incredibly helpful towards building confidence. Persevering through adversity will help to make businesses stronger, as they need to develop the appropriate tools to overcome the barriers and roadblocks that they encounter. This will make them more robust, long-term.

Does failure help you succeed more quickly?

Absolutely. People who never fail tend to drift into complacency, and find it hard to get out of their comfort zone. Businesses can easily stagnate if they never have to overcome adverse conditions, and growth can become impossible. Instead of doing everything they can to avoid failure, organisations should take risks, and embrace it when it comes. Failing can help you to discover vulnerabilities or weak spots in your arsenal, and allow you to fix the roof while the sun is shining. The faster you fail early on, the more robust the foundations on which you build your eventual success on will be.

So take risks, embrace failure, and learn from your mistakes. Your business will be stronger and more successful as a result, and you may find some personal growth as well!