ENT 630: Week 6: “Perception: A New View of Failure”

“Studies have shown that 90% of error in thinking is due to error in perception. If you can change your perception, you can change your emotion and this can lead to new ideas.” Edward de Bono


It is the one “F” word every entrepreneur will face one day. Entrepreneurs are risk takers, they see possibility where others cannot, they believe when others will not and they are seeking to improve the world when others do not.  Pretending failure does not exist or thinking “it can’t happen to me, my idea is great, I have resources” is naïve.

Some of the biggest stars, visionaries, writers and scientists have experienced failure.   Less than three weeks ago, November 7, 2016, was when Steph Curry broke the NBA single game 3-point record during the regular season.  Imagine if after his NBA 2015 Championship season, Steph Curry said he was done trying to break records. Perhaps his team the Golden State Warriors would not have made it back to the NBA finals in 2016. Although the Golden State Warriors did not win, they gave basketball fans quite a series before losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers.   After the championship loss in 2016, he could have said, I have nothing to prove and again choose not to work to break records.  Obviously, that was not his choice, as evidenced by the 13 3-point shots on November 7th when history was made.  Recently the New York Times reported that writer J.K. Rowling, of Harry Potter fame, is a billionaire from all the book, movie, and attraction sales.  You may have forgotten, but she was living on public assistance in Scotland when she wrote her first book.  Imagine if she had given up.  Stephen Hawking was only 21 when he was diagnosed with ALS. Not only did he not give up, he continues to research, travel, and lecture despite being in a wheelchair and dependent on a computerized voice system.  We would not understand about the Big Bang and black holes.  Wait a minute, I still don’t understand those things.  I’m just glad he did not give up.

Steven Schussler in Its Jungle in There says, “Failure is not permanent, do not get stuck it and use it as a springboard.”  (Schussler)  I recently watched a Ted Talk, “Finding a way to do more with Less,” given by Brad Hurtig about failure and giving up.  He is inspiring and generous with advice in dealing with failure.  We could all learn from Brad’s story.  Brad lost both of his arms in an accident while he was in high school.  He had been a star football player and he easily could have given up.  How many football players play without arms or with prosthetics?  Brad did not give up and a big reason for that was because of his coach and how his coach pushed him to see beyond what Brad could even see for himself.  Brad did go back to playing football and was first team all-state honors his senior year much to his own amazement. (Hurtig)

Here is some of Brad’s advice for facing failure and adversity:

  1. If you are willing to change the perception of yourself.
  2. If you are willing to adapt.
  3. If you are willing to persevere. (Pertinacity-read my blog from week 5)
  4. If you are thirsty enough, you will find a way. (watch his video for this one)
    1. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9-FoF0_nnY)

Brad goes on to say that “if you push harder then you ever thought you could, you will go further than you ever perceived possible.”  (Hurtig)

Brad’s story resonates with me because of his initial view of himself after the accident.  Now I have nothing even close to what happened to Brad happen to me.  What I had was a medical treatment that has dramatically changed my ability to taste.  “Big deal,” most people would say.  I might too, except I am a pastry chef. If I can’t taste how do I know what is good or bad. Believe me when I say, food can look beautiful and taste terrible.  Actually, it can feel a bit like being a fraud at times. Most people do not understand what losing one’s taste means or think it is all in my head.  Silencing me from talking about it.  It is this view of myself that makes me think I need to get out of this field and move into something else, where tasting is not a big part of my job.  I often ask myself if I can’t taste am I really a chef? I would be afraid to put ten chefs in a room and ask them this question.  I doubt that I’d be standing alone on the nope she’s not a chef side.  After watching his Ted Talk, I realize that I must stop dwelling in “my ‘not a chef’ perception” and change the filter of how I view myself.  I know there are many other parts to being a chef than just tasting food.  The question is how will I use those parts to becoming the entrepreneurial chef I so desire?

Resources and Links:

Schussler, Steven It’s A Jungle In There. New York: Sterling Publishing, 2010.

Failure isn’t failure

Sarah Cosgriff

July 27, 2016




Failure is Knowledge, Knowledge is Success

Tim Gibson April 6, 2015






Finding a way to do more with less

Finding a Way to do More with Less

Brad Hurtig

November 9, 2016




In the Chamber of Secrets: J.K. Rowling’s Net Worth

James B. Stewart

November 24, 2016





2 thoughts on “ENT 630: Week 6: “Perception: A New View of Failure”

  1. This is an excellent and detailed post on the consequences of failure. Love that you referenced Harry Potter, I believe that J.K. Rowling’s story is one of the most inspiring that I’ve ever come across. The ebb and flow of life leaves everyone at some point feeling absolutely defeated, but overcoming these obstacles – or failures – by any means necessary is what defines our success.

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