Learning to Fail

November 8, 2009by

Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes. –John Dewey

No one likes to fail, but only those who do so tend to benefit from it…that is, unless one is willing to set aside the fear of shame and share openly the tale of their demise. This is precisely the purpose of FailCon, a conference describing itself as “the first conference EVER to ask successful founders, investors, designers, and developers “What’s gone wrong and how did you fix it?””

The importance of a conference like this should not be overlooked. Educator Sir Ken Robinson has argued that the system of education in the western world tends to engender such a fear of failure in its students that their native capacities for creativity and ingenuity are stifled, if not turned off altogether. At the same time, several experts and some of the most successful people in business and management routinely lift up the ability to fail, and to cope with it constructively, as one of the primary professional virtues. Room to fail turns out to be opportunity to grow, and creates the circumstances under which some of the greatest discoveries are made.