Learning the hard way: your mistakes can make you a better entrepreneur

Part of my job allows me to talk to entrepreneurs and dig into their experiences, successes, and failures. The success stories are usually well publicized, but it’s not quite so for the failures. It’s only when you talk to them one-on-one (or talk to someone who the entrepreneur is close with) will you get to learn of their real struggles while building great companies.

It’s always inspiring listening to stories describing successful entrepreneurs, perhaps followed by sudden adversity, and then rebounding with loads of lessons learned on how to build a better company or be a better person.

Most great entrepreneurs learned the hard way. Some even went bankrupt as they risked it all to get their company afloat. Or some became young millionaires but then burned through their money and partied foolishly like there’s no tomorrow.

Most of the stories hit me hard, and if you’re an entrepreneur reading this, I’m sure they are familiar to you as well. I often question what it takes to attain success (whatever your definition is) and I’m sure many entrepreneurs who’re fighting and scrambling out there wonder the same thing too.

Obviously, none of us want go through the emotional and terrifying ups and downs of having to lose everything before learning the lessons needed in life. It doesn’t just apply to your career, but also with family, relationships, and friends.

The best and safest way to learn is perhaps through other people’s mistakes. But sometimes, the lessons learned by being a bystander don’t hit hard enough for them to sink in.

At some point in life, I’ll crash and burn too. And hopefully at that point, I could still stand up to continue building companies. Otherwise, I will be living today to my fullest, like the company depended on it. There’s nothing much for me to lose, I think.

Learning the hard way seriously sucks… but sometimes, it is much-needed medicine for you.

This article by C Custer originally appeared on Tech in Asia and is published with permission.



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