Afraid of Failure? Think Like a Scientist and Get Over It.

Afraid of Failure? Think Like a Scientist and Get Over It.
Image credit: Shutterstock

Franchise Your Business

Schedule a FREE one-on-one session with one of our Franchise Advisors today and we’ll help you start building your franchise organization.
Writer, Entrepreneur and Behavior Science Expert
3 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

I recently had a wonderful conversation with my friend, Beck Tench. During our chat, Beck told me about an interesting shift in thinking that occurred while she worked at a science museum.

During her time there, Beck said that she learned how to treat failure like a scientist.

How does a scientist treat failure? And what can we learn from their approach?

Here’s what Beck taught me…

Related: No, You Shouldn't Obsess Over Being Perfect -- Especially When Starting Up

Treat Failure Like a Scientist

When a scientist runs an experiment, there are all sorts of results that could happen. Some results are positive and some are negative, but all of them are data points. Each result is a piece of data that can ultimately lead to an answer.

And that’s exactly how a scientist treats failure: as another data point.

This is much different than how society often talks about failure. For most of us, failure feels like an indication of who we are as a person.

Failing a test means you’re not smart enough. Failing to get fit means you’re undesirable. Failing in business means you don’t have what it takes. Failing at art means you’re not creative. And so on.

But for the scientist, a negative result is not an indication that they are a bad scientist. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Proving a hypothesis wrong is often just as useful as proving it right because you learned something along the way.

Your failures are simply data points that can help lead you to the right answer.

Related Video: 

 

 

Failure is the Cost You Pay to be Right

None of this is to say that you should seek to make mistakes or that failing is fun. Obviously, you’ll try to do things the right way. And failing on something that is important to you is never fun.

But failure will always be part of your growth for one simple reason…

If you’re focused on building a new habit or learning a new skill or mastering a craft of any type, then you’re basically experimenting in one way or another. And if you run enough experiments, then sometimes you’re going to get a negative result.

It happens to every scientist and it will happen to you and me as well. To paraphrase Seth Godin: Failure is simply a cost you have to pay on the way to being right.

Treat failure like a scientist. Your failures are not you. Your successes are not you. They are simply data points that help guide the next experiment.

Related: Yes, You Can Be Happy While Pushing Yourself to Success

A version of this article first appeared on JamesClear.com. For useful ideas on improving your mental and physical performance, join his free weekly newsletter.

More from Entrepreneur
Our Franchise Advisors are here to help you throughout the entire process of building your franchise organization!
  1. Schedule a FREE one-on-one session with a Franchise Advisor
  2. Choose one of our programs that matches your needs, budget, and timeline
  3. Launch your new franchise organization
Entrepreneur Insider members enjoy exclusive access to business resources for just $5/mo:
  • Premium articles, videos, and webinars
  • An ad-free experience
  • A weekly newsletter
  • Bonus: A FREE 1-year Entrepreneur magazine subscription delivered directly to you
Try a risk-free trial of Entrepreneur’s BIZ PLANNING PLUS powered by LivePlan for 60 days:
  • Get step-by-step guidance for writing your plan
  • Gain inspiration from 500+ sample plans
  • Utilize business and legal templates
  • And much more

Latest on Entrepreneur