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Failure Is When You Give Up, Not Till Then

Monday, February 24, 2014
By Satish Khanna

Satish Khanna was Former Group President at Lupin Ltd and now helps entrepreneurs to create International alliances

How did “The Walt Disney Company” reach 45 Billion US$ market cap in 2013, despite its founder Walt Disney was fired for not being “Imaginative enough and a person with no original ideas?”

How did Steve Job who died young, but not before taking the company he founded to become the most valuable company in American stock exchange with market cap of 500 Billion US$, despite having been fired earlier from the same very company he founded?

How did Oprah Winfrey become “Queen of all Media” and the richest Afro-American in the 20th century in Northern America despite having been demoted from the job of news anchor, for not being fit for TV?

How Albert Einstein became the Father of Science despite having struggled to even speak till the age of four and failing to qualify for Swiss Federal Polytechnic in Zurich at the age of 16?

How could our own Narayan Murthy put India on the global map of IT industry and in the process created one of the most credible and valuable IT company, Infosys despite failure of his first venture Softronics and then even Infosys not looking to go anywhere eight years after its starting?

One common observation among all the above examples is that none of them stopped when they failed initially, they rather did deeper analysis to understand why did they fail, they learnt from their failures, they made suitable course correction and above all they did not give up. These extraordinary entrepreneurs or people had tremendous confidence in their capabilities to eventually succeed.

Like, whilst creating an innovative product, initial failures can happen; first idea can fail, rather usually it does fail; that is the most testing time and one has no options but to learn from the failure and improve the failed first idea or the proto-type-product to make it successful. Similarly, when one starts his/her career or business, one may encounter serious reverses and challenges in the initial phase. If one gives up at this stage, it is a failure. But combination of grit, passion and purpose create necessary intrinsic energy to enable bouncing back, rather strongly.

Entrepreneurship is experiencing failures, ignoring stress and strain caused by such failures, and rather responding positively for building stronger position by deploying the right learning’s from the initial failures. Be it on account of commercialization delays, sales not picking up, cash flows getting squeezed, inability to create the right team, inadequate margins, government bodies or banks exerting unfair pressure and so on. Many a times, such problems come simultaneously, but a successful entrepreneur visualizes hidden opportunities that are embedded in the challenges encountered.

Deeper the crisis for any entrepreneur in the initial phase, stronger and better he will come out provided there is strong conviction to fight out the initial struggle with patience, grit and strong belief that failure is not a failure, unless you stop at it and give up, rather failure can be used as an opportunity to help build a strong foundation for the eventual success.

"I missed more than 9000 shots in my career. 26 times I was trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
—Basketball Star Michael Jordan

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