"If you don't dare, you won't win." A sentence already mentioned in the fairy tale collection of Johann Karl August Musäus (1782-1786), in the "Legenden von Rübezahl". Everyone knows it, yet only a few people live it. Why risk failing? After all, the risk of failure is nothing more than disappointment, confusion and shame. Other people could be watching you. Calling you crazy. Say this isn't gonna work anyway. After all, there are a thousand reasons for this.
But is failure so bad? Is there a sense of failure at all? Yes and no. Of course, you can fail. But can you still call it failure when you learn from it? So failing and making mistakes is just a process that keeps you growing? The process of development - both in life, and in business - is a process of discoveries.
As children, we didn't think about what could happen if we failed. We just made it! We started walking by falling on our noses all the time. We learned to speak simply by starting to speak and nobody understood us. Today we have difficulties in learning a new language because we do not dare to use it. You have to be perfect in theory. Vocabulary and grammar have to be mastered first.
Yes, we Germans are a nation of knowledge.
We know so much and then do so little. Where should the courage come from? At school we are taught that making mistakes is bad. We're being punished for mistakes! Only the faultless students are the good students! We are trained to lead a life in the eternal rat-race, in which we just have to function. Only the faultless employees are good employees. But where should the innovations come from? The Teslas, SpaceXs, Facebooks and Googles from Germany? Who should produce them, if not people who long to make mistakes? People who understand that making mistakes means growth.
Instead, mistakes are understood as something unnecessarily evil. Listen, mistakes are not unnecessarily evil. They' re not evil at all. They are the inevitable consequence as you try something new. Errors must therefore be regarded as valuable goods. Wherever mistakes occur, innovations happen!
Mistakes are painful, yes. Sometimes they cost a lot of money, yes. That is why it is difficult to see failure as something valuable. You have to be detached from that and accept both sides. Both the reality of pain and the immense advantage of the resulting growth.
I don't think any of you expect anyone to learn how to ride a bike without making a mistake. Of course you will fall! You'll fall down several times. But that's the only way to learn! So why should it be any different in business? Just fall down and learn!
Failure is discovering. Failure is learning. Failure is progress.
As parents, teachers and managers, we have a responsibility not only to make a culture of failure possible, but to actively build it up and create it! We owe it to our fellow human beings and our children!
As the development of the movie 'Toy Story 3' came to an end, Ed Catmull - President of Pixar - called Steve Jobs and told him that they had no major problems with the movie during the whole time. Many people would have been happy, but Steve Jobs just replied: "Watch out. This is a dangerous place!"
So be careful, if you don't make any mistakes... this is a dangerous place...
So, stay beyond creative. Stay creative.