I recently twitted on my Twitter account @AndresJGomez a phrase that is very important in my life and in the way I live. This phrase was originally twitted in Spanish, and it translates to the following: Never plan for failure, don’t even consider it. Always think of success. One of the funny things about this phrase is that some years ago I would have not thought of it. In fact, I’m sure some of the failures I had on the beginning of my entrepreneur journey were because I ignored this postulate.
I have been an entrepreneur to some extent for over 15 years. During this time, I’ve created different projects, most of them related to Internet. Some of these projects have been successful, others have been failures. My first big entrepreneur project was not successful, and I had to close it about 3 years ago. I’ll come back later to this. Today I have changed the way I think and I attribute part of this failure to the way I learned to live life, from what I was taught in School, then in the University and generally, what I have learned in this life.
In school, university and the “school of life”, people learn about many subjects. Most of these teachings are done so people can make their own life, their own living and create a livelihood. For instance, at the University you can learn management, how to create a new business and how to market it. However, it’s not usual to learn how to be successful in business, that is from the personal perspective. For instance, you’re generally not taught how to be a positive person, someone who constantly visualizes success. This is a subject that although it’s well describe in literature (see Pygmalion Effect and Self-fulfilling Prophecy), is ignored by many of the mainstream education systems.
The current education systems have their reasons of why they teach what they teach and the way they do it. I’m not arguing against any of these reasons because I believe they are valid. However I think the education systems shouldn’t limit teaching techniques and tools to maybe become successful. They should also teach how to think and become successful. For example, when people learn how to write a business plan, they have to define exit strategies, just in case the plan fails. How about also teaching how to focus on being and becoming successful?
Let me tell a small story about one of the reasons my first big entrepreneur project failed. There were several mistakes my associates and I made, however there is one that I attribute to myself. From the get-go, I had in my mind the idea of “what happens if I fail?”. This question led me to have a Plan B or an exit strategy. If I failed, I had an alternative to pick myself up and start all over again. The result was straight forward: my exit plan became my reality. If I didn’t had in my mind this worry, I would had probably been successful or at least, had a greater shot at it.
Nowadays I’m on my second big entrepreneur project. Since my first big project, I’ve had a transcendental change in the way I think. To start, this time I don’t have a Plan B or exit strategy. I’m certain that this project is an essential part of my life and I want to work on it for many years to come. I cannot fail, it’s not an option. Of course this requires a great deal of work, dedication and a clear strategy to make things work out. It will take time, but since the start I’ve been confident that I can and will succeed. The fact is that I’ve been doing this job for over a year and a half, not always being an easy one, but all the hard work is starting to payoff (read more about it in this article).
This change of mind, which can be seen as a “new era” way of thinking is bringing me results. I’m not the owner of the absolute truth; however I’m making an observation that can be useful in our academic systems. The subjects being taught on schools and universities are very useful, but they could be complemented with this type of vision. This idea can go against what many people believe and can be hard to accomplish. I clarify that I’m not stating that with just a positive mind, projects will be successful. Actually, hard work and knowledge is required, but with a positive attitude and ease of mind, things will be easier to achieve.
Today I wanted to tell my readers of my experience and leave this reflection. Since my first failure, I’ve changed the way I think and it’s worked for me. Maybe you could also give it a try. As stated above, work is also required but a positive attitude changes everything. Things will not always go your way, but if you have a positive outlook on life, life itself will respond to it. Never doubt of yourself, your abilities and your work. This will require time and patience, but is a lesson I’ve learned and I’m sure you can benefit from it.
Image taken from Flickr.com