If At First You Don’t Succeed, Fail, Fail Again!

sucess vs failure“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.” – Irish author James Joyce (1882-1941)

There is a great deal of pressure in the business world to come up with new and innovative products and ideas. Everyone wants to invent the next iPhone or create the next Uber, but every idea is not born equal. In fact, a lot of ideas will lead to products or businesses that will end up being complete failures. But that is not such a bad thing!

Failure can provide important learning experiences and even lead to unexpected successes. Amazon’s chief executive Jeff Bezos has a very positive attitude regarding his past flops, products like the Fire Phone which failed to live up to high expectations. Bezos said he has “made billions of dollars of failures at Amazon,” but he doesn’t dwell on these failures. As any psychologist could tell you, and as Bezos knows, dwelling on failure will only cause undue agony. It’s better to focus on the positive, to keep successes in mind: “A few big successes compensate for dozens and dozens of things that didn’t work.”

What is most important is that a company keeps experimenting with new products and ideas. Yes, there will be a lot that don’t work out, but there will also be some that do–and who knows? Maybe there will even be a few failures that accidentally end up succeeding in a huge way, like the chocolate chip cookie, for example. It’s inadvertent inventor, Ruth Graves Wakefield, had been intending to make a different cookie altogether, but her substitution of one kind of chocolate for another resulted in what is arguably America’s favorite. If cookies aren’t your thing, though, take a look at this list of 10 other spectacular failures that resulted in great (albeit accidental) products, and keep in mind the words of Napoleon Hill: “Every failure brings with it the seed of an equivalent success.”



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