20 Apr Why entrepreneurs are obsessed with failures
Aashish Gupta (or The Fundamentalyst) is an investment banking research associate covering European Tech sector. He loves to experiment with startup ideas and write about technology, life, society and spirituality
The beginning of an end
Let alone starting a business, if you have lived/taken a risk even for a single day in your life, you have gone through this. The repeated cycle of idea to execution to failure is the first and the most frustrating part in any entrepreneurial journey.
“Great success is built on failure, frustration, even catastrophe” – Sumner Redstone
The above quote reinforces our idea that this stage forms the foundation of something bigger. The list of obstacles adding to the frustration is endless. Failure to hold on to a co-founder, ineffective product, cash burn, operational difficulties, legal hassles, emotional and physical burnout, loneliness, self-pity, almost anything and everything will bring you down.
Any sane person at this point of time will break, and so will you – the best of you. Abraham Lincoln, after failing as a captain, businessman, lawyer, and several times as a politician, wrote in a letter to his friend: “I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would not be one cheerful face on the earth.”
There are other stories such as those of Harland David Sanders, the famous KFC “Colonel,” who couldn’t sell his chicken, and was rejected by more than 1000 restaurants. Stephen King, after getting rejected by 30 publishers was so frustrated with his first novel, Carrie, that he threw it in the trash.
While these are known ones, there may be other countless untold stories which never came into limelight.
“If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.” – Steven Wright, American comedian, actor and writer
Maybe a lot of entrepreneurs follow Steven’s advice and never let out their breakdown episodes because they want to keep their “metal head, ready to take any blow” image intact.
These snippets from lives of some of the most successful people tell us that failure is inevitable, and so is breakdown in some or the other form. If you are in the same phase, do not yet think that startup is not your game.
Smooth seas do not make good sailors
Have you by any chance skipped the above process? Has your life been a ride on a highway so far? Then be aware that you are still at the bottom of the learning curve. Know that if you hit a plateau you will not know how to climb over.
Bobby Jones, an American amateur golfer, once said that he never learned a thing from the tournament he won. Whether it’s lady luck on your side or an extremely high IQ that got you whatever you wanted in the very first or even second attempt, do not let yourself fall into the “I am successful because I did everything right” trap.