By Kenny Kline
It’s almost a cliché by now. Every book, every blog and every lecture by every entrepreneur seems to feature the same story: before the big lucky break that took that person to the top, they experienced a series of crushing, discouraging failures.
The takeaway from this is always the same old chestnut: don’t be afraid of failure and follow your dreams. But I think perhaps that’s overly simplistic. What truly distinguished these entrepreneurs and their successes was not that they weren’t afraid to fail, but rather that they learned from the failures that ultimately led to their successes.
Ultimately, it was their attitude of learning that inspired their success, not the failures themselves.
I believe that a failure to learn from failure itself can be a fatal blind spot for even the most driven of entrepreneurs. With all of the articles doing the rounds about the importance of failure, I want to use this post to take a serious look at a few amazing entrepreneurs who showed that a rigorous and insatiable drive to experiment and learn was what ultimately brought them success.
In my eyes, being unafraid to fail is all well and good… but being unafraid to learn is even better.
1. Thomas Edison
Let’s start with one of the most famous entrepreneurs of all time – Thomas Edison: polymath, inventor and proto marketer. Perhaps more than any other figure, Thomas Edison embodies all the classic qualities of the American entrepreneur – optimism, pragmatism and hard work.
Despite the many chronicled successes he enjoyed, Edison also had his share of failures. And probably his most colossal failure was what led to his most famous success: the light bulb. The road to this invention was long and hard – it took Edison and his team over 1,000 tries to get the light bulb right.
A reporter famously once asked Edison, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?”
Edison even more famously replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times – the light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”
This statement speaks volumes about Edison’s attitude to failure. He didn’t view failure as an obstacle that prevented innovation, but rather as a reality that should be expected and embraced.
He succeeded in the end because he had an attitude of learning from his idea’s conception to its eventual validation. He saw each light bulb before that final 1,000th successful one as an opportunity to experiment with and refine his approach. Each failure added up coherently to the final success of a functioning light bulb.
What you should take away from this is that if every failure you encounter sees you flailing randomly from one idea to the next, you’re not really learning anything from your failures, and therefore the value of that failure is almost nil.
Consider this your lightbulb moment: Edison invented the light bulb because he learned from each and every one of his failures, not because Go to the full article.
Source:: Jeff Bullas Blog