Thursday, December 21, 2006

Disney says a kick in the teeth might do you good

"You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you."
- Walt Disney

Walt Disney, like many successful entrepreneurs, had his share of failures before he became a hit in the animation business that was new in his time.

One thing all successful entrepreneurs say freely is that you don't get to the top by just building on your successes. You get there by building on your failures. You learn little from success, lots from failure.

Yet we teach our children, by example and sometimes intentionally, that failure is shameful. Consequently, children will often lie about breaking something or doing something they have been forbidden to do. Being caught is, after all, the ultimate failure according to the ethics of business. And they will hide bad test results or report cards to avoid having to face their parents.

Let's put this into perspective. Banks are more likely to lend startup money to someone who has had two business failures than to someone who has never been in business for themselves, providing that both have good business plans. They know that people learn from failures.

Business or personal failures, we learn from them. There's an old saying that tragedies that don't kill me will make me stronger. On subsequent tries at something we know what fails by what we did before.

This doesn't always work. Divorced people too often marry the same kind of person who made their lives miserable the previous time. Sometimes it takes more than one failure for some people to catch on to what they have done the wrong way.

There are other benefits to failure and tragedy. They expand our range of emotions so that we can enjoy happiness stronger than we could previously. And they give us coping skills that should have been taught to us as children or adolescents.

Coping skills help us to get through life. Trying again gives us a reason to live.

Bill Allin
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems, striving to show that failure is not as disasterous as it is made out to be. Or it doesn't have to be that bad.
Learn more at

No comments: