Arianna Huffington is co-founder and editor in chief of The Huffington Post. She spoke with Inc. reporter Issie Lapowsky.
My mother used to call failure a stepping-stone to success, as opposed to the opposite of success.
When you frame failure that way, it changes dramatically what you're willing to do, how you're willing to invent, and the risks you'll take.
I don't mean you have to try to fail. That will take care of itself. But in my own life, a key component of whatever successes I've had has been what I've learned from my failures. When I ran for governor of California in 2003, it was a failure--but I learned a tremendous amount about the power of the Internet. I also learned a lot about myself, about communicating, being able to touch people's hearts and minds, and listening. All the things that were ingrained in me during the campaign definitely had an impact in forming Huffington Post.
Reading biographies of successful people you admire is a great way to put failure in perspective. There's absolutely no one who's succeeded who has not failed along the way. Steve Jobs said that being fired from Apple was the best thing that ever happened to him.
He said, "The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything." Very often, success stops people, because they're afraid of taking a step that leads to failure. Success generates fear.
Now that Huffington Post is successful, we try not to let that stop us. We constantly iterate. Not everything that we try succeeds by any means, but that's the spirit with which we approach every day.