The Art of Failure

Why learning to fail is key to the Holy Growth Grail

Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Oprah Winfrey. All these individuals are admired by millions of people. Tons of articles and books have been written about them, and many books draw inspiration from their success stories. Surprisingly all these people have two things in common. They achieved big successes that everyone knows about. But, to achieve those successes, they first had to fail. They failed often, they failed hard and they failed in order to achieve success.

Did you know that Oprah got her first big break as a co-host on a TV show? The show had enough issues as it is and soon failed. It was immediately Oprah who was blamed and she herself stated that she felt like a failure back then. But she moved along and kept on searching for the right opportunity and you can easily see that it paid off.     

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.“

– Winston Churchill

Failure can predict success. How? Research shows that those who accepts mistakes and actually make them, instead of trying to avoid being wrong at all cost are more likely to be successful. You already know why. We learn from our failures and we can only move up from there. 

Most companies have a fear of failure, but at Helloprint, we embrace it. We talk about failures we recently made with everyone who wants to hear about it. Inspired by our friends of Growth Tribe, we even created our HelloFailure board where we openly write down our failures, and with every 10th failure, we host a Failure Fiesta. We appointed a Chief Failure who encourages everyone to fail.

Nick Mahn our “Chief Failure” in action

But why are we so focused on failure? Because if you really want to become the best and outperform all the rest, you will need to take bold risks and dare to make a mistake. Because that is where real growth is, right outside that comfort zone. And because we dare to take the risks we do, we achieved this immense growth over the last few years. 

“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure”. 

– Bill Gates

We love to fail, because as a wise man once said: “Ever tried? Ever failed? No Matter. Try Again. Fail Again. Fail Better.” So do something wrong today, because it will give you all the info to do better tomorrow.

Cornel de Vroed, our UX boss, celebrating throwing hot coffee over one of his team mates

“Remember your dreams and fight for them. You must know what you want from life. There is just one thing that makes your dream become impossible: the fear of failure”.

– Paulo Coelho

Determination really is a result of failure. Have you ever played with a Rubik’s cube for hours? People are naturally inclined to stubborness. Just imagine what you can do with this motivation, if you put it to something worthwhile and productive. You have to be very driven to get it done, even if it is after many tries. 

“Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness”. 

– Oprah Winfrey