Stop thinking ‘failure’ is a bad thing

James DysonMost of us are brought up being encouraged to get things right. Although ‘fail fast, fail hard’ has become a Silicon Valley motto, it’s anathema to most of us.

And yet doing things wrong is great, because you learn from your mistakes (and no, that’s not meant to be a cliche).

Take James Dyson, King of Making Failure Pay. He famously made 5,126 versions of his Dual Cyclone vacuum cleaner before he reached the magic version that has turned him into a very wealthy and successful man.

His take on failure goes like this:

Failure is interesting – it’s part of making progress. You never learn from success, but you do learn from failure. (When I created the Dual Cyclone vacuum), I started out with a simple idea, and by the end, it got more audacious and interesting. I got to a place I never could have imagined because I learned what worked and didn’t work.

Perhaps we should rewrite the old adage: “If at first you don’t succeed, understand what didn’t work and try, try again”.

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