As we know, the best kept secret for success is attending the school of hard knocks. This year Failcon is hosting over a half dozen conferences with the theme, “Embrace Your Mistakes. Build Your Success” The events are geared for startups- specifically small tech businesses whose batting average is a paltry .100. Industry by industry that number may vary but according to statistics provided by the seed accelerator Y Combinator, 93% of the companies accepted by this esteemed startup incubator fail. Failcon is trying to break the taboo of not discussing failure in business- often to protect the loyalty of stockholders, investors and customers. On their webpage they say, “you should start exchanging stories of what didn’t work and how you pivoted, why you couldn’t raise money, what the wrong hires were like, and when you decided it was time to let go”.
Are we teaching our kids this valuable lesson? Maybe.The trick is how to capture success and failure as part of the entire learning process- not just reward success and punish failure. School culture has a lot to do with that-as does high-stakes testing. Maybe we can take a lesson from baseball where a successful batter hits safely 1 out of 3 times and the scoreboard records “errors”. Risk-taking is human and learning to fail is as important as learning success.