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I was having dinner recently with a good friend who gave up a mid seven-figure job with great security to pursue his dream of being a novelist. The impetus for his decision wasn't a mid-life crisis as some expect [he's 32 years old like me, not q... [Read More]

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Mark Swanson

While this sounds paradoxical, I believe that your degree of success is proportional to your ability to accept failure. Once you reconcile with yourself the consequences of failure, you let go of that fear and can focus your energy on being successful, which dramatically increases your chances of success.

Jason Wood

Don, I've come to appreciate that you're always good for a timely quote or two. Don "Bartlett" Dodge as it were. :)

I often tell people that the best thing the ever happened to me was the technology bubble bursting. To have experience arguably the most bullish AND bearish technology markets in history at the early part of my career gives me a perspective that I never would've gotten otherwise.

Best,

J

DonDodge

Jason, Great post. I am reminded of two of my favorite sayings. "Success is a terrible teacher". In fact, success deludes you into thinking that everything you did was right. The more likely case is that one or two things were right and the rest was luck.

Second, "Risk and reward are driven by fear and greed. Fear can scare us into inaction.. But, fear is temporary...greed is permanent."

Most successful entrepreneurs have experienced failure. That failure has driven them to try again and succeed. Failure is a great motivator...while success lulls us into complacency.

David Terrar

Jason,
Synonymous. In my own case, with hindsight, I wish the worry of not being able to pay the mortgage hadn't stopped me take a particular opportunity with a couple of my friends back in '86. Life can be full of those Y points when you wonder what would have happened if you'd turned down that particular road.

Jason Wood

David,

Sounds like very interesting work. How synonymous would you characterize "having the balls to do it" and "not fearing failure?"

J

David Terrar

I think you've opened up a huge and important topic. Kid's start out life willing to take a chance and make mistakes, but our whole school system stifles that ability. We train them to be afraid of getting things wrong, and then we extend that in to the way we run our companies. We stigmatize mistakes. The fear of failure not only stops people from achieving their potential, but it stifles creativity itself. We're educating people out of their creative capacities. There's a great quote from Picasso on this: "All children are born artists. The problem is to remain an artist as we grow up". I agree with you that it would be a failure if you friend didn't give up the steady job and take the chance. Personally, I waited way too long before I took the step to try my own thing.

In the early 80s I did an analysis of a dozen software entrepreneurs who'd started businesses in my sector to see if there was any common ground. They were all very different, with very different approaches, and the only common thread was that they'd had the balls to do it.

Actually I'm involved in writing a book that relates to this, so I'm glad you brought this up.

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