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The Two Kinds of Failure and Why They Matter

“It is a curse to have everything go right on your first attempt. You will fail to question the element of luck.”


This excellent passage from Robert Greene’s book Mastery explains the two different kinds of failure and the implications of each.

Think of it this way: There are two kinds of failure. The first comes from never trying out your ideas because you are afraid, or because you are waiting for the perfect time. This kind of failure you can never learn from, and such timidity will destroy you. The second kind comes from a bold and venturesome spirit. If you fail in this way, the hit that you take to your reputation is greatly outweighed by what you learn. Repeated failure will toughen your spirit and show you with absolute clarity how things must be done. In fact, it is a curse to have everything go right on your first attempt. You will fail to question the element of luck, making you think that you have the golden touch. When you do inevitably fail, it will confuse and demoralize you past the point of learning. In any case, to apprentice as an entrepreneur you must act on your ideas as early as possible, exposing them to the public, a part of you even hoping that you’ll fail. You have everything to gain.

A lot of people are afraid … they are afraid of failure. I understand this because I’m afraid of failing too. But what people don’t understand is that I’m more afraid of not trying. I can live with failure. I can’t live with not trying. The former allows me to sleep, the later keeps me awake.

I can live with failure. I can't live with not trying. Click To Tweet

Luck plays a huge role in everything. While something you can’t control it is something you can court. Here are five techniques you can use to improve your luck.