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3 Simple Ways Failure Brings Out the Best

Mistakes will happen--and that's a good thing. Take a few minutes and remember why.
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Just take a look at the news everyday and you'll see failure. The truth: Everyone will fail and everyone will make mistakes at some point in their career. Failure is inevitable. But failure is also a very good thing.

Over the years, Inc.'s top columnists have weighed in on what exactly makes failure a positive thing. Here are the top three reasons why.

1. Failure leads to innovation. Inc.’s Paul Shoemaker stresses that some of the greatest inventions and discoveries were born out of mistakes--penicillin and the smallpox vaccine to name a few. Shoemaker insists that a company’s culture should embrace failures and mistakes and learn from them. He says:

It’s so crucial for companies to foster a culture that celebrates productive mistakes, the kind that can stimulate thoughts and generate new paths. If leaders do not allow failure, they also kill innovation…As with stocks, if you want to get a few big returns, you need to be willing to accept losses as well.

2. Failure allows you to identify your weaknesses. Columnist Kevin Daum takes his mistakes and failures and makes the most of them. First, he holds himself accountable for his mistakes, identifying himself as the source. Then he creates plans around those mistakes so he doesn’t repeat them. Finally, after resolving his mistakes he shares them. Daum says:

Sure failure and weakness is painful. I get embarrassed when I screw up and negatively impact someone else…but shortly after the guilt and embarrassment passes, I marvel at the power of my failure. I revel in identifying my weakness. I gain insight and confidence from the experience and wear my wound proudly like a new merit badge on a Boy Scout sash.

3. Failure helps you gain perspective. Scott Gerber says there are 10 reasons why he loves failure-- the main takeaway is that failure humbles you and makes you more realistic about your goals. Gerber passed on this insight: 

No matter how successful you are, accept that you will fail again. Failure is good. It will be your guide to smarter, better decisions. The faster you realize that your business will never be perfect and there is no such thing as smooth sailing, you'll grow as a leader as a result.
Last updated: Jul 30, 2013

ABIGAIL TRACY

Abigail Tracy is a staff reporter for Inc. magazine. Previously, she worked for Seattle Metropolitan magazine and Chicago magazine.




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