Silicon Valley’s culture of failure

July 1, 2014

Most startups fail. However many entrepreneurs still overestimate the chances of success – and the cost of failure.

This interesting piece front the Guardian focusses on the current reification of ‘failure’ (as it relates to start-ups).  The myth of ‘failure’ remains alluring in certain circles, as though you have earned the right to succeed only if you’ve amounted a number of failed enterprises in your past.  The problem with the ‘failure’ myth is that it doesn’t account for the emotional fall out of plugging away.

People will do a lot of irrational things to avoid losing even if it’s to their detriment. You push and push and exhaust yourself.

If we’re going to pay serious attention to failure as an important learning experience then we also have to pay attention to how expectations are set up in the first place….and, perhaps more importantly, the emotional cost of desire, satisfaction, disappointment and failure.  Not all failures lead to success.  Not all success is built on the back of failure.  Perhaps its time to adopt the reality principle and address not only the fear of failure but the stress of pretending that everything is going well when it’s not.

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