How to Fail Right

“The fastest way to succeed is to double your failure rate.” – IBM’s Thomas Watson, Sr.

“There is something about losing and coming back from it that burns character into a man’s soul, breeds confidence without arrogance, and makes a man believable when he talks about problems.” – John Sears, Campaign Manager for Ronald Reagan


Many scientists, business leaders, and sport coaches all believe the same thing: the road to success is lined with failures, and every failure can bring you closer to success. Wise risk-taking opens doors, but how do you know when it’s wise? How do you convince your team members that risks are worth taking? And, how do you get the most out of each failure?

  • Make sure you have an exit strategy, or that you somehow take into account that the majority of your risks might fail.
  • Encourage communication across the board – collaborate with others. This will only work if there is not a destructively competitive atmosphere in the group you are working in. Your failure might give someone else an idea, or vice a versa. Many successes, from Post-It notes to Silly Putty, came from someone’s failure.
  • Analyze, Analyze, Analyze. After every failure (and after every success) you have you analyze what made the endeavor succeed/fail. That is the only way to learn, and succeed the next time.
  • Admit your mistakes. Others respect when you admit your failures, and it makes them feel more comfortable taking risks around you. Also, as I mentioned in point 2, with collaboration, you could turn your failure into a success. You also can’t analyze (point 3) very well if you don’t even admit the problem.

I wish all of our readers many successes, and only the most useful failures. 😉

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *