Is it a good idea to expect to fail? Personally, I don’t think so. I prefer to be positive, and although I’ll admit there are days when it’s difficult to find any sort of motivation, I find it much easier to get stuff done when I feel like there’s some point in the doing. And I always assumed most people feel the same.
So I was surprised to read this post from Seth Godin, http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2011/04/how-to-fai.html
But of course there was a useful point to the article
All of us fail. Successful people fail often, and, worth noting, learn more from that failure than everyone else.
Seth’s not alone there. Most of the guru’s will tell you that true entrepreneurs are serial failures, though I always get an uneasy feeling when I read this. What is the difference between your crazy uncle who keeps inventing stuff nobody needs or wants, but won’t give up because he knows he’ll make it one day, and one of the successful types from Dragon’s Den? It could be that the major difference isn’t one of mindset, maybe it’s just luck, or knowing the right people, or being in the right place at the right time. Where these people don’t fail is when it comes to motivation.
All of these things make a difference, and there is an element of luck, but the important factor for many entrepreneurs is the ability to recognize opportunity when it knocks, because it comes in many different forms. Economic collapse can be a catastrophe, but it can also be an opportunity, if you know how to use it.
So there are (at least) three, very important points about failure.
- You must never be afraid of it
- You need to spot it when it happens.
- You need to learn from it
There’s no need to expect failure, but you must be aware that failure is possible, and keep your eyes open for it. So when you set off on your next enterprenuers journey, you know how to avoid it.
There’s a word for people who do the same thing over and over again expecting a different result, and the word is loony.
Look for failure and try to recognize it when you see it. Then ask yourself why you failed and make the appropriate changes.
And then find the motivation to start again.