The Art of Failure

Poker - Chris Withers

If there is one lesson that stands out amongst all of the things that I have had to learn over the past year and a half of starting up this business, it is, without doubt, the art of failure.

If I am really honest with myself, I have lived most of my life with a strong fear of failure. It’s not something that I like to admit, or even talk about really, but it’s there. The fear of failing eats away at your core until you look around and realise that unless you do something about it, you will never be great.

Now I never set out to conquer my fear of failure, and if I look at my track record, one would not be able to detect this fear. I appear to have taken some sizable risks and put myself out there for failure on many occasions. But the art of failing is relative, and what someone else may consider risk may actually not be risky at all for me and may still be well within my comfort zone. But these past 15 months of running my own business in the City have finally forced my hand. I have had some triumphs and successes, but overshadowing all of those have been sizable failures. Learning the hard way has never seemed more relevant.

The art of failure is just that. It’s an art form and something that I believe only comes with quite a bit of practice. Putting yourself out there for failure and then actually failing is quite an interesting phenomenon. It’s slightly masochistic and you know 100% that there is going to be pain somewhere in your near future. But it’s the pain of failure and how you deal with it and react to it, which sets one apart from the masses. Failing numerous times is part of any success story, and is where all the real learning occurs. So if one avoids failure, one also inevitably avoids real success. They are so intertwined that I truly don’t believe you can have one without the other.

So if we know that, then why are so many of us afraid to fail? Why are so many of us so inept at the art of failure? These are questions I can guess the answers to, but don’t really know. All that I do know is that starting up this business has forced me to attempt to master the art of failure, and by doing so I have learned a far more valuable lesson than anything I could have learned in a book or at business school. I have learned that as long as I am doing what I have set out to do and as long as I get there in the end, then the whole world can witness my failures and snicker as they please, because in the end I will be having the last laugh and be holding all the Aces.

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