At one of the companies I worked for, failure was perceived as something to be avoided. You simply would be punished for failing. I remember one of the conversations I had with the CTO who was irked by the constantly broken builds. „Who did this?” he roared like a lion wanting to frighten all of the animals in the corporate jungle. „I’d like to know the names of all of those bastards responsible,” he continued. I was flabbergasted.
He wanted to add negative points to all of the employees who made mistakes. I was perpetually trying to convince him that failure is a major contributor to the success of many companies. But I failed—thankfully he was not the one assessing my attempts to change his attitude about mistakes!
Thomas Edison said, “Of the 200 light bulbs that didn’t work, every failure told me something that I was able to incorporate into the next attempt.”
I like to fail. Every failure is a journey of discovery. One of my strongest memories from childhood is falling off my bike (especially when my folks were not around). Crying my eyes out, with my knees and elbows scratched, I learnt that every failure—and fall—was painful, but also informative. I failed, failed, and failed again. But I finally learned to ride a bike. My mum and dad jumped-up. So was I. I could now explore the world faster, armed with my new, broader know-how. This would be a lesson I would carry with me into my adult life and apply in myriad situations.
Whenever I fail, I tell myself, “Next time I will try to fail better”.