Embracing Failure

The topic of failure is often stigmatized in our journey, yet it is ubiquitous and can be a catalyst for growth, especially for creatives like us.

Dec 4, 2023

5 min

Despite sharing many of my successes, I have not shared my failures often. Therefore, I want to delve deeper into the topic in this week's newsletter.

The Stigma of Failure

In our society, failure is often seen as a dead end. However, behind every major success story, there is an untold chronicle of missteps, rejections, and downright disasters. Consider Apple's first iPhone. It was groundbreaking, but before that, there was the Apple Newton, which was a commercial dud. You might have not even heard of that. Yet, without that "failure," the touch screen technology we cherish today might have taken a different turn.

Redefining Failure

As creative entrepreneurs, our work is inherently tied to innovation and creativity. Each new idea is a risk. Instead of viewing failure as a stop sign, consider it as feedback. It tells us what doesn’t work, paving the way to what might. So you must see this as a tool, not as a limitation or the end of your story. But no, it shows you the right way and what works.

Resilience: The Silver Lining of Failure

Entrepreneurship requires not only business acumen but also a strong character. It's a test of grit and determination, and facing challenges head-on. Failure is a natural part of the journey. Embracing failure can build resilience, a crucial trait for any entrepreneur. Every failure is an opportunity to learn and grow, to pivot and adjust one's strategy. Through trial and error, solopreneurs can develop the skills and mindset necessary to succeed. I launched roughly 20 side businesses until I found something that worked. Keep trying and you get the rewards!

Success Stories Born from Failure

  • Steven Spielberg: Despite being rejected multiple times by the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts, Steven Spielberg went on to become one of the most successful filmmakers in history and a multiple Academy Award winner.

  • Starbucks: When Howard Schultz acquired Starbucks, he attempted to mimic the Italian espresso bar and introduce the concept of selling brewed coffee. Although the idea failed initially in Italy, he persevered, and Starbucks now has more than 30,000 locations worldwide.

  • Walt Disney: The mind behind Disney, was once dismissed from a newspaper job for not being imaginative or original enough. After that, his initial animation venture faced bankruptcy. Now, Disney stands as a beacon of imagination and a cornerstone of many childhoods.

  • J. K. Rowling: Before achieving worldwide acclaim with "Harry Potter", Rowling encountered numerous publisher rejections. She also battled depression, was unemployed, and raised her child as a single mother reliant on welfare. Now, she ranks among the most celebrated authors of all time.

  • Framer: Last but not least, my favorite company right now. Refined their prototyping tool for 8+ years, and pivoted into a web development platform where no code is needed. Incomparable to any other.

Every "overnight success" has nights filled with doubts, mistakes, and, yes, failures.


Remember that in the lexicon of life experiences, failure is not the opposite of success. It's a stepping stone. It might hurt at the moment, but with perspective, it’s often the universe nudging us to something even grander. 

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