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Why We Need Failure to Succeed

When you hear that someone has failed, how do you react? Many people associate the word "failure" with negative feelings. However, if you are one of the few people who don't mind failing, your definition of failure is different than most. In business, failure for some is more like a directional signal on the highway of an entrepreneurial journey rather than a negative experience. Additionally, if you aren't making any mistakes - also called failures - it may mean you're taking the safe route too many times. For example, Thomas Edison would try his experiments repeatedly only to come up short. "I have not failed," he said. "I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

As an entrepreneur, you can't always play it safe and instead, you may need to kick down doors that might have previously been shut tight. If an entrepreneur plays it too safely, new ideas may not be generated and new ways of thinking might be shunned with the "if it's not broken, don't fix it" mindset. Such a mentality may result in an organization's growth slowing down.

When an Olympic ice skater is in training, he or she may attempt the triple axel jump hundreds of times, only to fall each time before landing. It means something needs to be practiced or modified, which is a learning opportunity, not a failure. We entrepreneurs know that there's always a next move that we need to champion. That's why, once we get that proverbial triple axel down, we go on to the next move. If we are going to continue on and win that elusive gold medal, we sometimes need to risk landing hard. Entrepreneurs know this, and thus are grateful for both their successes and failures.