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Entrepreneurship – the failure myth

Kevin Kelly

According to the Global Entrepreneurial Monitor (GEM) fear of failure is the top reason given in Ireland and worldwide by aspiring entrepreneurs for not starting their own businesses.

NESTA – the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts and the UK’s largest early stage investor in innovative and creative businesses – found that almost three quarters of people who said they had what they believed was a good business idea were not acting on it because they were afraid of not succeeding.

Ironically potential entrepreneurs are being paralysed by something that doesn’t exist.

That’s right. Failure is a myth!

Let me explain!

Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb famously said “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

James Dyson, the engineer who reinvented the vacuum cleaner took four and a half years and 5,127 prototypes to refine his design.

“Each failure taught me so much,” he said. “Success teaches you nothing. Failures teach you everything. Making mistakes is the most important thing you can do.”

In an interview with Time Magazine, Larry Page, inventor of Google, said, “Invariably we try ten things that don’t quite work out in order to do one thing that is successful. And we learn a lot in doing the ten things that didn’t quite work.”

Thus every failure brings you a step closer to success and moves you further down the path of entrepreneurship. So instead of being afraid of it – we should celebrate it.

Ironically by embracing this truism you mastered your first two major challenges in life – walking and talking.

Remember: As a child, ‘Never say die’, ‘Have no fear’, ‘Try and try again’, ‘Enjoy the moment’, were your working metaphors.

You fixed your eye on the goal, took your first step – wobbled a bit – steadied yourself. Then another step. Then landed on your backside!

What happens then? Did you give up? Did you say to yourself ‘I tried my best and I can’t do it. It hurts. I’m never doing that again!’? Did your ego kick in and start whispering ‘I’m making a fool of myself. They’re all laughing at me! Better quit while I am ahead.’?

No indeed, as each one of us is born with an innate desire to reach our full potential, so you got up and tried again ultimately succeeding.

Bring that child with you and master the art of entrepreneurship. #DO!