Learning to live the failures-as-feedback system

Remember the idea of pivoting?

Very few businesses, innovations, or wealth-creation exercises of any kind ever succeed on their first attempt. Most new ideas, successful businesses or profitable ventures have gone through at least three pivots before becoming profitable.  

There is a valuable, even critical, lesson in this: if we stop at the first perceived failure, and do not pivot, we have not given our initiative a fair chance. It is premature to call a business a failure after not making money on the first try.

In an episode of the British Dragon’s Den series, one of the entrepreneurs applying for funding has an idea for a yoga system. It’s a clever idea, based on a small apparatus that guides where you put your feet and makes balance more difficult. The entrepreneur has been struggling for years to sell his invention into gyms. The ‘dragons’ love the idea, but quickly point out that selling into gyms is too difficult. They propose packaging it with a training video and selling into stores for individuals to purchase, an idea that the entrepreneur had never thought of. They offer him £50 000 pounds and go into business with him.

Good pivot!

It’s important to live the failures-as-feedback system. When we reach the first hurdle, obstacle, or sticking point, we need to pause and say, ‘Awesome! If I get past this, I’ve transcended a barrier to entry. This barrier will have stopped others. If it doesn’t stop me – if I can find a way around or over it – I’m ever so slightly ahead of the game. The more hurdles jumped, the greater the exclusivity. I’m getting there.’

The important thing is not to see a failure as a full stop, but as valuable information that shows you what not to do. Every setback is an opportunity to hone and fine-tune until you have developed a highly optimised, wealth-generating machine.

Don’t stop at no. Ask, ‘Why not?’ Then, move beyond no.

Lifelong learning matters to you. Education and knowledge are wealth levers. If you are willing to learn from your mistakes, and the mistakes of others, you will radically accelerate your own potential. Learning from the problems of others is a wealth lever and a time-period accelerator.

Are you willing to be that person cruising through the ’hood rocking an audio book?


Poverty mindset: I failed. I’m done. Back to the old day job.

Wealth mindset: I failed. I’ve learnt something useful. I’m one step closer to making it.


Douglas Kruger is a business author and professional speaker. See him in action, or read his articles, at www.douglaskruger.co.za. Douglas’s books, including ‘Is Your Thinking Keeping You Poor? 50 Ways the Rich Think Differently,’ are available at Exclusive Books, Estoril, CNA, and as ebooks from Amazon.com


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