Great entrepreneurs see risks and mistakes differently, by Adam Grant
Joyce Park stashed this in Tech biz
Our friend Adam Grant has a lot of insight into what motivates high performers... and it might not be what you expect.
This line stuck with me:
When people reflect on their biggest regrets, they wish they could redo the inactions, not the actions.
Ultimately, what we regret is not failure, but the failure to act. Knowing that is what propels people to become original. Leonardo Da Vinci wrote repeatedly in his notebook, “Tell me if anything was ever done.” He might have been afraid to fail, but he was more afraid that he would fail to accomplish anything of significance. That propelled him to keep painting, inventing, and designing to become the ultimate Renaissance Man.
Da Vinci didn’t answer his request for an interview.
I didn't realize failure is NECESSARY on the road to success.
Originals learn to see failure not as a sign that their ideas are doomed, but as a necessary step toward success. We learn more from failure than success: for example, evidence shows that space shuttles are more likely to make it to orbit after botched launches. A failure signals a gap in knowledge or a poor strategy, and motivates us to go back to the drawing board and get it right. Without failure, complacency can creep in. At NASA, the Challenger disaster happened after 24 successful space flights, which led to overconfidence. “In their own minds,” physicist Richard Feynman reflected, “They could do no wrong.”
With original ideas, failure is inevitable, because it’s impossible to predict how technologies will evolve and tastes will change. Mark Cuban passed on Uber. In the early days of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin tried to sell their search engine for less then $2 million, but their potential buyer turned them down. Publishers rejected Harry Potter because it was too long for a children’s book. Executives passed on Seinfeld for having incomplete plot lines and unlikeable characters. Pay a visit to Jerry Seinfeld’s bathroom, and you might find a memo hanging on the wall that calls the pilot episode of Seinfeld “weak” and says “"No segment of the audience was eager to watch the show again.”
Throughout history, the great originals have been the ones who failed the most, because they were the ones who tried the most. Most of Thomas Edison’s 1,093 patents went nowhere; Picasso had to produce over 20,000 pieces of art to make a few masterpieces. We see the same trend with entrepreneurs. Before Uber, Travis Kalanick’s first startup declared bankruptcy. Oprah Winfrey was fired from her job as a reporter. Steve Jobs flopped with the Apple Lisa and got forced out of his own company before making his triumphant return—and even after the iPod succeeded, he made a bad bet on the Segway personal transporter. And with all of Richard Branson’s success in airlines, trains, music, and mobile, he has also presided over the failure of Virgin cola, cars, and wedding dresses.
Originals learn to see failure not as a sign that their ideas are doomed, but as a necessary step toward success. We learn more from failure than success: for example, evidence shows that space shuttles are more likely to make it to orbit after botched launches.
LOVE THIS. Reminds me of this tweet by John Henry
I make mistakes 3x faster than most people make a single decision.
Wow!! I just love it. A true killer :-)
John Henry the steel driving man? I didn't know he tweeted...