Why entrepreneurs should embrace failure and stop believing in luck

Entrepreneurial Spark
Dan Martin
Former editor
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Shed Simove explains how a little failure helps if you want to be successful in business.

I'm a firm believer that in business personal development should be compulsory for everyone. We should all learn how to be become fulfilled, decent members of society and ones that are easily capable of making our dreams come true.

Instead of learning techniques for success, most people grow up with snippets of information gleaned from common knowledge. The problem is that these snippets don’t often deliver the whole truth about the process of how to achieve any goal you might have, and sometimes make it seem like something to avoid.

Here’s one such snippet you’ll most certainly have heard, 'If at first you don't succeed try and try again'. This is wrong, if you keep trying and keep failing then you need to change strategy to have any chance of being successful.

Persistence alone however, is simply not enough. Instead, what you need to do is persist and evolve your approach to success. 'Never giving up' is fine (and necessary), but simply doing the same thing over again may well only deliver the same results.

This is why you must frequently change your approach or – even better – try lots of different strategies at the same time. The more opportunities you work on simultaneously the greater chance you have that one will turn into a success – so always try and keep a broad focus.

The successful writer and playwright Samuel Beckett also had his own version of this idea. He said: 'Try Again. Fail again. Fail better'. In saying 'Fail better', Beckett neatly forces your brain to re-understand that failing is something necessary, beneficial and worth striving for. This is one of the single biggest lessons a businessperson must comprehend.

Here's a thought that comforts me when I encounter a setback or challenge (much better words than failure), 'A failure is simply something which tells you that you’re nearer to your goal.' If you fail at something you learn from it and don’t make the same mistake again. You have improved your knowledge and as such, are more likely to become successful in future.

Well I'm here to tell you different: luck is a myth and you can control pretty much everything as a businessman.

Here's another big tip for success: banish the word 'luck' from your vocabulary. When it comes to success there is no such thing as luck. In fact, the truth of the matter is quite different – and should make you feel incredibly empowered. The fact is that nothing happens without you making it happen.

'Luck' is often used as an excuse by people who don't want to try to attain success or by people who want to give up. These people might say, ‘Other people are far luckier than me’ or ‘My luck has run out and so I can’t reach my goal’. Nonsense! These attitudes are very dangerous because they suggest that your life is controlled by external factors that are uncontrollable by you.

Well I'm here to tell you different: luck is a myth and you can control pretty much everything as a businessman.

Rather than waiting for luck to happen to us, we must realise that we alone are responsible for what happens in our life. The key is to take control and create situations that allow good things (or ‘lucky things’ as some people wrongly call them) to happen.

The concept of being lucky is a falsehood and here is a good example of putting yourself in a position to be lucky. When I made some of my first gift products, a big firm in the US asked me to develop another item that went on to sell more than the original product I’d sold them.  

This happened when I released a novelty item called 'The Parent–Child Contract Pad' (a simple notepad that mimics a formal contract for adults and kids to fill in) and the buyers at the gift chain told me that they wanted another item to sit next to the pad on their shelves and have even broader appeal. I quickly suggested an idea to the fantastic partner company I was working with at the time, and we went on to release the ‘Sound Machine’ (a little plastic box that plays sixteen different sounds, from applause to explosions – and even burping). It went on to be a surprise hit around the world.

This may have been a fortunate outcome but, that example of success wasn’t down to luck, it was down to the fact that I’d created a product in the first place that gave me the chance to be lucky in the future. I’d bought a ticket and therefore had given myself the opportunity of winning the raffle.

Shed Simove is author of Success Or Your Money Back


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