As a child, Sara Blakely was asked this question every day by her father.
IDEO, a cutting edge global design firm motto is ‘Fail early and fail often’
Allowing failure is a key element in creating innovators is a key premise of Tony Wagner‘s latest book. Tony writes about a Harvard Business Review article ‘The Innovator’s DNA’ and how 4 year olds are constantly asking questions and wondering how things work, but by the time they are 6 1/2 , the questioning stops since they have learned that teachers value right answers more than provocative questions. Creativity, the fuel of innovation is already being slowly extinguished…
And Sara’s father wasn’t taunting her, rather he was encouraging Sara and her siblings to ‘fail big’ since anything less meant they weren’t really trying, they weren’t stretching themselves enough out of their comfort zone…
But it’s not just about our encouraging our kids… it’s about all of us…
Learning to fail with dignity and celebrating it
instead of listening to the harsh inner voice that points out that its best not to risk being an idiot and try…
and avoiding the opportunity to fail
Not feeling quite ‘perfect enough’? Jeanette Maw’s recent post has a great strategy for dealing with personal idiosyncrasies – embracing them as perfect imperfections ‘ that’s what I love about myself’! that’s what I have that’s unique to offer!
Not convinced yet? many of our cultural icons failed early on in their careers! Oprah was considered ‘unfit for TV’; Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. See Danielle LaPorte’s recent post for more….
As Joss Stone sings:
I’ve got a right to be wrong
I’ve been held down too long
I’ve got to break free
So I can finally breathe…
…Got to sing my own song
I might be singing out of key
But it sure feels good to me..
Postscript: additional quotes, info, etc.
The founding father of electricity, Thomas Edison famously said:
I have not failed…. I have just found 10,000 ways that do not work!
and Oprah Winfrey:
I don’t believe in failure. It’s not failure if you enjoyed the process.
Also for an excellent article and links focused on the importance of failure for success in business see: Why Failure Is So Important To Success