Are you afraid to fail? If you’re anything like me, you were raised in a culture that frowns upon failure. Success is what is important and what is celebrated. Yet, the older I get the more I can see the value in failing. Let me explain.
Failure is life’s greatest teacher. Failure can spur us on to better effort and greater breakthroughs. Failure is not necessarily a measure of inferiority but rather displays a willingness to take risks, to not always play it safe, to be innovative and to improve.
I was watching an interview with Elon Musk on the TV show “60 Minutes”. It was the interview that inspired this post. Apart from the fact that Elon Musk is a fellow South African – which right off the bat makes him super interesting 😉 – he is a genuinely fascinating person. Amongst his accomplishments are Paypal, Tesla Motors and SpaceX which flies rockets to the international space station for NASA. Seriously? What kind of person starts a company like that? The kind that finds it okay to fail.
During the 60 Minutes interview he commented that going into the electric motorcar business, he assumed he would fail. (He has in fact succeeded enormously, but only after many failures.) The interviewer asked him why he did it if he thought he was going to fail. His answer is nothing short of spectacular: