The idea of failure has a special place in the world of entrepreneurship, and it’s often regarded as the best teacher. If you haven’t failed at least once, you haven’t really learnt anything.

Well, it all looks good on paper and sounds reasonable, especially when it doesn’t apply to you directly. So, how does the idea of noble failure work in practice?

Check out: Failing to Understand Failure Is Not an Option




  • derring-do – daring or reckless action
  • indispensable – absolutely necessary, essential, or requisite
  • exploit – a striking or notable deed; feat; spirited or heroic act
  • give props to – to express your respect for someone
  • fall short – to prove insufficient; be lacking
  • collegial – of or characterized by the collective responsibility shared by each of a group of colleagues, with minimal supervision from above
  • pan out – to happen or be successful

Think about it

Answer the questions below.

  • How has the perception of the idea of failure changed over the years?
  • Why is bringing failure into “the equation” so important?
  • Why do we generally fall short of practicing the idea of failure in our own lives?
  • What are the two easy things to do to avoid dealing with the consequences when confronted with a failure?
  • In what way should failure be approached to learn something from it?


Practice makes perfect

 Fill in the blank spaces with the correct forms of the verbs in brackets.

We all ________ (appreciate) a good comeback story. A person ________ (try) their hand at something, ________ (fail) (the more spectacular the collapse, the better), and then stages a successful second act. It’s a classic. That’s the heart and soul of all those tales of company-creation derring-do.

Over the years, the idea of failure ________ (take on) special significance in the world of entrepreneurship, where it ________ (treat) as a badge of honor–as something indispensable. (See “Welcome to the Church of Fail”) A few years ago, in fact, the notion of “fail fast” ________ (become) quite popular among many entrepreneurship programs.

But, is our embrace of failure mostly rhetorical?  (w)/(W)e really ________ (mean) it?  (w)/(W)e even ________ (practice) failure management at our own companies?


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