This story was originally published in Art Hive Magazine issue #32, Winter 2019.

By Drew Scott


Fear of failure and the craving for success are key parts of human nature, but the path to fame and fortune is rarely a smooth one. While entrepreneurs and business leaders come from all walks of life, they all have one thing in common: they have all failed, and overcome those failures.

From tech leaders like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs to scientists like Albert Einstein and Sir Isaac Newton, everyone who has done anything important has failed, sometimes spectacularly. Any study of the lives of these remarkable individuals is in part a study in failure. Facing adversity and overcoming challenges is what these individuals did, and part of what ultimately made them so successful.

So while everyone hopes for an overnight success, the odds of failure are far higher. The good news is that those early failures can pave the way to future success. Here are five reasons entrepreneurs, business leaders, and others should embrace the power of failure.

#1 Failure Builds Resilience

The teacup on your table is fragile, while the table itself is more resilient. That fragile teacup must be carefully protected, lest it fall and break apart, while the table can take some abuse and survive just fine.

But some things, including the entrepreneurial mind, are the opposite of fragile; they actually get better when they are challenged. This anti-fragile nature is a key part of entrepreneurial and business success, and one of the key reasons early success so often paves the path to later success.

Simply being challenged can make your business, and your ideas, better. No matter what the obstacle, there is something to learn from it, and entrepreneurs know better than most the power of resilience.

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#2 Failure Can Spark Creative Problem Solving

When things do not go as planned, entrepreneurs get going. Failures can spark creative problem-solving in individuals with an entrepreneurial streak.

Without challenge, entrepreneurs and business owners can get stuck in a rut, doing things the same old way and falling victim to newer and more nimble competitors.

The lessons learned through those early failures can be extremely valuable, sparking creative thinking and helping business leaders stay ahead of their competitors.

#3 Failure Encourages the Acquisition of New Skills

There is nothing like the failure of a business or the flaming out of a seemingly great idea to create a new way of thinking. When your business fails or your entrepreneurial dreams falter, you may have no choice but to go to work.

Going to work for someone else may seem like a failure, but the skills you learn could be extremely valuable down the line. You may learn a new way of doing business, knowledge you can use while pursuing your next great idea.

#4 Failure Provides Learning Opportunities

Entrepreneurs and business leaders are wonderful learners. More than their less successful peers, these unique individuals have the ability to learn from their mistakes. They may fail spectacularly many times over, but they learn something new each time their ideas are shot down.

Instead of giving up, these successful individuals pick themselves up and dust themselves off. They take the hard lessons they have learned and turn them into something good, improving on past ideas, seeking out new partners, and turning ideas over in their heads until something clicks.

#5 Failure Can Create Optimism

You might think that failures, especially repeated ones, would trigger despair and despondency, and for many people that is true. But for those who were ultimately successful, failure seems to have had the opposite effect.

It may seem counterintuitive, but failure can actually trigger optimism in entrepreneurs and business leaders who are ultimately successful. Instead of shrinking from the challenge, successful individuals see optimism and opportunity.

The most successful business leaders are a diverse group of men and women. Some came from wealthy families and got a great start in life. Others were born into abject poverty and had to struggle for every

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