Good failure, also known as productive failure or positive failure, refers to the concept of experiencing setbacks or unsuccessful outcomes that lead to valuable learning, growth, and ultimately, success in the long run. It is a perspective that views failure not as a permanent defeat but as an opportunity to gather insights, adapt strategies, and build resilience to achieve better results in the future.
Some epic examples of good failure are:
Thomas Edison: Edison famously attempted thousands of times to invent the electric light bulb. Each failure brought him closer to success, and he famously stated, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” His persistence and willingness to learn from his failures ultimately led to the successful invention of the practical incandescent light bulb.
Walt Disney: Before achieving monumental success with Disneyland, Walt Disney faced numerous business failures and rejections. He experienced bankruptcy, had several failed ventures, and was even fired from a newspaper for lacking creativity. However, he used these setbacks as stepping stones to create the world’s most famous entertainment company.
Steve Jobs: After being ousted from Apple, the company he co-founded, Jobs experienced a period of failure and disappointment. However, he used this time to learn valuable lessons, develop new ideas, and eventually returned to Apple to lead it to unprecedented success with iconic products like the iPod, iPhone, and iPad.
J.K. Rowling: Rowling faced multiple rejections from publishers before finally getting her “Harry Potter” book series published. She has spoken openly about the importance of failure in her journey as a writer and how it shaped her determination to succeed.
Michael Jordan: Widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, Michael Jordan faced numerous failures and setbacks throughout his career. He missed thousands of shots and lost hundreds of games. However, he credits his failures for his success, saying, “I can accept failure; everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”
Elon Musk: The visionary entrepreneur behind SpaceX and Tesla has faced many setbacks, including failed rocket launches and production challenges with Tesla cars. However, Musk views failure as an essential part of the innovation process and continues to push boundaries.
Adeolu Akinyemi: This upcoming serial entrepreneur has faced his own share of woes. He’s had many setbacks, ranging from losing a warehouse inventory of over $2m to being cheated out of a partnership that was doing business revenue in millions of dollars, being duped by an insurance company for reasonable claims, and losing in a variety of business transactions gone bad. Adeolu views Failure as a way to develop an adversity quotient and is currently passionately building a few successful businesses in manufacturing, distribution, real estate, coaching, and training. (For the fans of something from Nigeria)
These epic examples of good failure demonstrate that setbacks and challenges can lead to valuable insights, resilience, and eventual success. Embracing failure as a learning opportunity and using it to fuel determination and growth can be a powerful catalyst for achieving greatness in various fields.