For our youth to thrive, it matters how we teach them to view failure

During our discussion about The Future for Youth, one of the main points we touched on was “risk aversion”. And though we see a trend towards more entrepreneurs, the truth is many of them are not entrepreneurs.


Because most entrepreneurs fail and leave it at that. But real entrepreneurs view failure as a prerequisite for learning; that’s the difference.

In our discussion, I commented about how we view failure matters. Mainly, that we must become aware of our weaknesses as people and not assume that we’re all great with just what we know. Though this may seem harsh to all the folks who sound the horn of positivism, the truth is we make fundamental mistakes when we avoid being critical of our own selves. To become great, to become better, to be humble, we must challenge and question ourselves; we must change our minds.

That’s what experiencing failure does to some entrepreneurs; though not most.

In the discussion I made a reference to Carol Dweck’s work on growth and fixed mindset to make the distinction about how I view failure, which fits nicely into how I explained it:

  • Good failure. This is when you keep trying and learn from mistakes;
  • Bad failure. This is when you don’t learn anything and blame everyone for your shortcomings.

Very simple, yet true. But, it also matters how you fail:

When transferred over to innovation, mistakes are part of the process: if you’re not making new mistakes you are not trying anything new and surprising.

Enough said!

Bottom line: What does The Future for Youth look like? Many entrepreneurs, but most won’t make it if we don’t teach them to view failure as necessary learning. In order for our future leaders to thrive, it matters how we teach them to view failure. If you have the right mindset, you’ll constantly ask yourself: what new mistakes am I making and what have I learned that I didn’t know?