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  • Writer's pictureGladys Agwai

Why Embrace Failure?



In most societies, failure is often stigmatised and seen as a sign of incompetence or weakness. This fear of failure can lead individuals and organisations to play it safe, avoiding risks and challenges that could potentially lead to breakthroughs. When you are afraid of failure, you tend to stay uncomfortable within your comfort zone, limiting your potential for growth and progress. Moreover, the fear of failure leads to a lack of creativity and innovation.


This can result in stagnation and a resistance to change, hindering both personal an professional development. Failure is an integral part of your journey towards success. However, you fear failure and go to great lengths to avoid itnot recognising that failure is not a deadend. Failure is a steppingstone towards your growth, learning, and success as you define it! To embrace failure, it is important for you to adopt a growth mindset. A growth mind-set is the belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication and hard work. This mindset ‘reframes’ failure as an opportunity to learn and improve rather than a measure of your worth or capabilities.


You can reframe failure when you can normalise failure, learn from mistakes, be encouraged to take risks, build resilience, and create a supportive culture. Temitope Omotolani from Lagos, Nigeria said, “Failure should be demystified and celebrated just as much as its vaunted counterpart.” At the age of five, her father passed, fire gutted her mother’s fabric and jewelry store, extended family sold her father’s property leaving them with nothing.


As a teenager, she decided the life she wanted and established three businesses that barely paid her rent and school fees. Her business specialty as a shopper and deliverer of groceries had low margins. She sought a contract with tomato farm raising funds from family and friends. Because of her inexperience, there was a surplus of tomatoes resulting in rotted tomatoes and lost money. She borrowed more money to buy more but still experienced price instability, transportation issues, and a disaster when pests attacked the crops. There were not enough tomatoes to transport. She then co-founded FarmCrowdy that connected farming opportunities to investors. This carried its own problems, such as, flooded farms, pestilence ruined projects, and farm-herder crises.


Through these troubles she learned to focus on the 20% that yields 80% of the result. She learnt that “When things fail, she is not a failure. Failure is part of success.” She became CEO of Crowdyvest focused on multi-industry funding projects. She now takes the dragons that come into her life in stride, embracing failure knowing it will lead to her success. Failure has the potential to lead to significant breakthroughs and paradigm shifts. Some of the most impactful discoveries and inventions in history were the result of multiple failures, with each one contributing to the eventual success. Thomas Edison and his journey of the invention of the incandescent light bulb said, "I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that will not work." Each failure was not seen as a setback but as a step closer to the ultimate solution. His relentless pursuit of success despite numerous failures paved the way for one of the most revolutionary inventions in history.


Failure is used as learning opportunities and steppingstones towards future accomplishments. The lessons learnt from failures often play a vital role in shaping strategies and decision-making, ultimately leading to success. Embracing failure is not only limited to individuals but can also be seen within the corporate world, particularly in companies that foster a culture of innovation and continuous improvement. Amazon has a strong culture of experimentation and learning from failure. A notable example is the failure of the Amazon Fire Phone, which was a commercial disappointment.


However, Amazon used the lessons learned from this failure to improve its hardware and software products, leading to the success of devices like the Kindle and the Amazon Echo. Embrace failure and experience the benefits from learning, innovation, resilience, adaptability, creativity, exploration, building trust, personal growth, and having a competitive advantage. It is not a sign of weakness but a strategic approach to drive growth and innovation. Be empowered to push boundaries and find solutions to complex personal and professional challenges. By learning from failure, adapting strategies, and persisting in the face of challenges, you will set the example of how the transformative power of failure drives progress and success.


“Failure is only temporary. Embrace it, grow from it, and achieve success despite it.”-Gladys Agwai


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