We often look at failure as the end all be all. As if once we fail, there is nothing more that we can do. This is simply not true. The most successful people look at failure in a completely different way. They don’t see it as final. Rather they see it as a wrong turn. As if you took a wrong turn on your way to somewhere new. If you took a wrong turn, you’d quickly realized that you made a mistake and work your way back to getting on route. Then, the next time you make that same voyage, chances are you won’t make that same mistake again. Failure is an option. We’re too hard on ourselves with the idea of failure or outcomes in general. Sure, many shareholders of companies focus on outcomes, but is this the right approach? This could be because that’s all the information available to them so they have to use what they have. But for our own lives, we see practically every part of every process. Should we rather be process oriented and not so focused on outcomes?
“Fail, then fail again”. I believe I heard this from Tim Ferriss. He was referring to entrepreneurs and how an entrepreneur should really look at failure. The entrepreneur should look at failure as inevitable. Failures will come up no matter how smart or creative you think you may be. However, there are levels of failing. Most failure is small and we are overly sensitive to it. We immediately see something not go the way we wanted it to and feel the world is falling on us. That’s the power of this quote. Fail. Then move on and fail again. Because during that move on stage, there is a massive amount of growth. You can’t fail at something if you don’t try. So keep trying until you fail again. Then reassess and work until you fail again. Another saying I’ve heard (and I’m paraphrasing big time here) is that a business does one of two things, they either fail or get lucky. This is powerful way to look at starting a business for a number of reasons. First off, it conditions our brains to realize failure with come to us all, no matter how brilliant we are. Everyone is going to make mistakes starting their business. Once we are truly comfortable with that idea, then there is no stopping us. Another note that this saying plays to is that it promotes trying new things and getting creative. The best way of getting lucky in business is trying new things and seeing what sticks. That’s exactly what this quote is trying to get out of us all. Not everything we do in our business will work, but we keep trying until it does work. And this is where the lucky part comes into play. A lot of times with starting a business, we don’t know why some things work and others don’t. That’s why it’s lucky. If we try ten new things, we may see one of those work out in our favor and we don’t necessarily know why. Nevertheless, we eliminate the nine failures and now we have a tested recipe for success. Lastly, this quote reminds us to be humble. Because we don’t have say whether we succeed or not. We may think we do, but really it’s the customers. Sure, we are able to convince them, but at the end of the day the customers are making the decision to buy into our product.
Once you come up with your idea for your business, throw as many things at the wall and see what sticks. Failure is part of the game. Entrepreneurship is a turbulent route of trial and error. The more comfortable we get with failure, the faster we’ll learn. The more risks we’ll take. The more chances we give ourselves to find the right recipe. If we aren’t failing, then we aren’t trying. Fail. Move on. Then fail again.