Failing Forward – The Benefits of Failing


A lot of people are afraid to try, afraid to risk, afraid to take it to the edge. The question is: are they afraid of success? Many people will never win big because they can’t lose big. The person that has the greatest chance at success is the person that has nothing to lose.

Too often, we look at our little tiny, middle class lives and just don’t quite understand what a trap the middle class is. Its comfortable, sure we have some debt, but we can still feed our family.

If you ask me, the American Dream is a pretty sad existence.  What we call the American Dream is tiny thinking that was forced down our throats from the time we were small. Take smart risks, but not too big of risks, they say.  Be safe.  If you never give it a shot, you can count on having the same small existence 10 years from now. If that is fine with you, then stop reading right here, and we can agree to disagree. I want to talk about the benefits of actually failing at something.

  1. Breaking your small thinking. Does thinking big give you anxiety? Does the thought of it make your palms sweaty and your stomach jump in loops?  Well gradually taking incrementally bigger risks, even if you fail, will train you to be able to think much bigger. Once you realize that the moon doesn’t fall from the sky or the earth doesn’t stop rotating around the sun, you realize failing, no matter the scale always have a solution.
  1. Learning. The old adage is to learn from your mistakes. The funny part is, is that not only should you be learning from your mistakes, but also the mess that you have to fix afterwards. You’ll find that your ability to handle stressful situations is much greater when your real strength is tested. A battle tested entrepreneur is one prepared for success at a much higher level.
  1. Other opportunities. You may fail, but in actuality win. Failing may still create new opportunities for you. If you are a smart, personable entrepreneur, you will make connections no matter what you do. There’s no good or bad experience; rather, just experiences — it’s all a matter of viewpoint. You may discover something else in the process that becomes the next greatest business idea or meet the person that will really enable you to win.

I’m not advocating for failure here, but rather I want you to take a different viewpoint. Society puts such a stigma on failing at something; risk takers are treated like overly precocious children. I want you to understand that it’s not failing that’s the problem, it’s that small thinking will never create freedom or true innovation. Be smart and plan, but never be afraid of failing at what you do; then you can never win the game big. Your little loss discomfort now, may just be a larger win in the making.  Its impact could be not just for you, but also for the future of mankind.  Thinking big is that magical.

Jeremy Slate is the founder of the Create Your Own Life Podcast which helps entrepreneurs live the lives they know they were meant to. He studied literature at Oxford University, specializes in using Online social networking to build and offline relationship, and was ranked #1 in iTunes New and Noteworthy. It is because of Jeremy’s success in podcasting that he was able to accomplish 10,000 downloads of his podcast in the first month. Jeremy is also an online marketing expert for Greater New York firm, ClearImages Design.