Why failing is important and why it isn’t really failing

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I remember something one of my teachers taught us in one of the first International Entrepreneurship courses in Worms: the difference of perception between Germans and Americans on failure. He told us that while failing in the business world in Germany was something really bad for your profile, especially when looking for funding of a new venture that in the US, it was the complete opposite: nobody would trust someone starting a new venture who never ever failed anything before.

The logic behind it was that if the person never had failed failure before, how could investors know how he would get back on his feet? Would he even be able to recognize an upcoming failure if he never experienced it himself? I found this way of thinking amazing, then again, I was biased, I had tried something before that hadn’t worked out, but I found it interesting nonetheless because I tried something new, I saw how the process of creating goes, I knew that I was able to admit when something isn’t going to work, and more importantly, was able to move on easily.

I am someone who really likes those quotes from great people , I find them interesting, they are something like catchphrases. And when you look at the number of quotes addressing failure and actually almost glorifying it, you come to wonder: why do people still look at failure as something bad? Instead of explaining it in paragraphs and paragraphs, I will just give a top 5 of my favourite quotes addressing it:

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“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”

Albert Einstein

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal : it is the courage to continue that counts.”

Sir Winston Churchill

“You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take. »

Wayne Gretzky

“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”

Theodore Roosevelt

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Thomas A. Edison

(though I sometimes heard a similar version credited to Alessandro Volta about learning 100 ways not to make a battery)

It is one that I find really great, because it shows that someone who is known for his most important invention, the first (commercially viable) incandescent light bulb, but who also had to struggle to find it. And let us not forget that he is the one who created General Electric (under the name Edison General Electric Company), which still exists more than a century later. Not bad for someone who failed “10,000” times To wrap this up, I’ll end with another quote from Sir Winston Churchill, who was quite proficient in quotes (or at least got them accredited to him):

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

On a final note, humoristic of course, I am inviting the Oxford Dictionary to modify the definition of failure accordingly. I hope you enjoyed the read!