The importance of failure

I was speaking to an entrepreneur today whose project is struggling and on the verge of failure. I encouraged him to NOT ask for donations; the need for a commercial venture to ask for donations is the market’s way of telling you that your project HAS ALREADY FAILED.

Now, it is important to understand that failure is the seed of success, just as success is the seed of failure. This isn’t a Zen koan, it is a simple and straightforward observation. Most successful individuals, myself included, have more failures than successes. There are very, very, very few exceptions; I am having lunch today with a 2x New York Times bestselling author whose first two novels were #1 bestsellers, but she is the exception and she very well knows it.

The three keys to failure leading to success are as follows:

  1. Fail faster. Once it is clear that it isn’t working as anticipated, shut it down!
  2. Learn from the mistakes you made. 
  3. Apply the lessons learned in your next venture.

There is zero shame in failure. There is only shame in lacking the courage to try, and lacking the resolution to pick yourself up afterwards and try again.