“One day you will tell your story of how you overcame what you went through and it will be someone else’s survival guide.” – Brene Brown

Most successful entrepreneurs have had terribly failed in the past. And, the rate of failure in the start-up community seconds to none. The Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2019 by Start-Up Genome showed that only 1 in every 12 startups succeed. 75% of start-ups fail even though they were backed by funding from investors.

Anyway, failure makes everyone miserable. Also, no matter what you fail at, the effect is painful – whether it’s a failed relationship, professional assignment, or even a dream that you can’t achieve anymore. It hurts when you know what you want, but also know that you can’t get it. But, it only hurts while the failure exists. However, start-up founders (especially those who are successful now) choose to give it another shot or move on to another thing, – it ceases to be painful.

Say, you’ve lost a competition before. But, if you’ve moved on and participated once again and won it, you won’t feel as bad about the first loss. Similarly, many startups that are very successful now have faced many failures and yet, chose to move on.

Besides, successful starts do not even get glued to the past. Here’s a short Chinese parable that explains how living in the present and moving on helps:  There was an old hard-working farmer. One day his horse ran away. On hearing the news, his neighbors came to console him. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically. “Perhaps,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned to him. And he brought three other wild horses along. “How wonderful,” the neighbours exclaimed. “Perhaps,” the old man replied.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses. But was kicked and thrown far away. The son also broke his leg. The neighbours again came to offer their sympathy to the old man and the son. But the old farmer replied “Perhaps” again.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbours congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “Maybe,” said the farmer.

Thus, this parable tells us that there’s no point in wondering about what could have been better. Many people do not understand that life is not just about avoiding mistakes or failures. It is about embracing all our experiences and circumstances with equal acceptance

In fact, your success would not be as interesting and fulfilling if it was easy to achieve. We hardly realise what we do not know until we overcome the challenges posed by it.  Here are examples of successful entrepreneurs who miserably failed before they found huge success.

  • Evan Williams, the co-founder of Twitter first developed a podcasting platform called Odeo. However, the platform didn’t succeed, in part because Apple announced the podcast section of the iTunes store shortly after the company launched

  • Sir James Dyson wasn’t always a well-known name associated with Sir James Dyson 15 years and all of his savings to develop a bagless prototype of vacuum cleaners. He developed 5,126 prototypes that failed first

  • Sony’s products were not as popular or well known as they are today. In fact, the first product was a rice cooker that ended up burning rice

  • FunBug.com was a gaming and marketing platform developed by GoPro co-founder Nick Woodman. Although the concept ended up being a complete miss, the startup was categorized as one of Silicon Valley’s biggest failures

  • While Melanie Perkins didn’t “technically” fail before founding Canva, she did receive more than 100 “no’s” before funding the startup

Eventually, their perseverance paid off and they got rewarded for their efforts. The more often that you choose courage, the more likely you’ll succeed.

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