The quote comes from Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb: “Out of 200 light bulbs which don’t work I learnt something new with each trial, that I could take into account next time”.

Many famous people had to live with great setbacks: For example, Walt Disney, who was deemed to be lacking in imagination in school and was also sacked from a newspaper for the same reason. Or Henry Ford, who was faced with financial ruin five times. The talent of excellent scientists is also frequently questioned: Albert Einstein’s teacher considered him to be “of slow intellect” and Charles Darwin was considered a boy of below average intelligence. There are reputable entrepreneurs who needed several hundred attempts to find an investor for their business idea. And Stephen King had almost given up with his dream of a career as author because he could not find a publisher for his first works.

Failure is not always failure

Society deals with failure very differently around the world. A real failure culture dominates Silicon Valley. Young start ups needs several attempts until they are successful with an idea. But in the Californian tech environment failure brings no shame – it is even considered desirable. But it is very different in Germany: Here failure is embarrassing: those who make mistakes often face prejudice in their environment. No wonder that many German founders and young entrepreneurs lose confidence after a defeat. Because it is necessary to learn how to deal with mistakes. “Fallen seven times, stood up again eight times” is a Japanese saying. The former Prime Minister of Great Britain Winston Churchill also followed the same principle: “Being successful means getting up one more time than you fall down!”.

Recognising losing as an opportunity

The secret of success for many great personalities and influential entrepreneurs is that they have never admitted defeat in the face of a lack of success. To be precise, only those who admit defeat fail. On the other hand, those who learn from their mistakes and do it better the next time gain from their setbacks.

Fail faster!

The real problem is therefore not the setbacks and defeats but how they are handled. If you are faced with a difficult situation, you should use it as an opportunity for growth and personal development. Think of it as a kind of experiment. To get to success we often have to pursue workarounds. That is particularly prevalent today. In the case of innovation and new business models nobody can say whether it will work. But if you never try you will never find out. There is a reason that the credo in Silicon Valley is: “Fail faster!” the more frequently you fail the quicker you learn and the quicker you get to your goals.  Or also: “Fail forward” – analyse your failure and develop yourself.

Defeat and setbacks are completely normal. So don’t let yourself be discouraged by them, but grow as a result. Learn how to creatively deal with mistakes and have fun experimenting!