"I see failure, only as a reminder of something that was missing in the first place"

Sameer Dua launched his first book 'Declaring Breakdowns' earlier this week
"I see failure, only as a reminder of something that was missing in the first place"
Image credit: Sameer Dua

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Former Staff, Entrepreneur India
4 min read

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Entrepreneurs and even large business groups often grapple with situations, wherein, they need to wind-up businesses that they love, but unfortunately aren’t doing well. It’s difficult to let go of employees, deal with media coverage, finance management, all at the same time.

Sameer Dua, Founder and Director of Institute for Generative Leadership, spoke to Entrepreneur India earlier this week, on how one should deal with failure.

“In the world of generative leadership, we always begin with the ‘what’ first,” he said.

Earlier this week, Sameer launched his first book ‘Declaring Breakdowns’, which has already seen a second round of printing order come its way.

Defining failure

“In the book;Declaring Breakdowns, I define ‘failure’ as an assessment and not as an assertion (fact). Failure is simply an interpretation, created by an individual (or sometimes the society), when a desired result is not achieved. However, the problem is if you avoid failure, you stop trying. So, in my assessment, the choice is between inaction and failure, and for me this is a no brainer. I would rather choose failure, than inaction. And the more you are in inaction, the more you are in conversation of, wanting to avoid failure” Sameer said.

Dealing with Failure

“I see failure only as a reminder of something that was missing in the first place.That when brought forth, will give me success in due course. 

So, there are two ways to deal with failure:

  • Continue to indulge in failure and be in that conversation (I am a failure, life has failed me, this is just not working, there is no point doing this any more, etc. etc.)
  • Or, create a new future! Take action inside of this new future.

And if this doesn't work, you still have the same above two choices – indulge in conversations of failure, or stand up, dust off, and start again. 

Should reading be an integral part of an entrepreneur’s day-to-day life?

“In my assessment, to ‘read’ is to engage in a conversation with the author. I keep my current concerns in the forefront when I am reading a book, and invariably, while reading, I find either a new way of looking at my concern, or a new action to deal with my concern.

Conversations open-up your world-view and broaden the lens with which you look at the world. A conversation with an author (by reading a book) is no different. It expands your thinking; it opens up opinions and ideas that were not available to you before you had the conversation with the author.

So, a big YES!

Reading should most certainly be a part of an entrepreneur’s day-to-day life,” Sameer said.Entrepreneurs often find themselves running out of time amid travel, work and meetings. But Sameer believes that most successful entrepreneurs make time for this hobby.

“One pervasive internal conversation amongst working executives (and not just entrepreneurs) is that they don't have the time, and that they are very busy. This is just that – a conversation! However, they hold this as the truth, and forget that this is just their internal conversation.

The question is not whether or not you have the time. The question is – are you really committed to your expansion. And if you really are, then you will find the time – like most successful (and busy) entrepreneurs do,” he said.

Books he would recommend entrepreneurs to read

There are several outstanding books that have helped me tremendously; however, here are the three that come to mind that would help entrepreneurs:

  1. The Innovator’s Way by Robert (Bob) Dunham and Peter Denning
  2. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
  3. One Small Step can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way by Robert Maurer

Which is that one entrepreneurial success story that you really think is admirable and why?

“There are several stories that come to my mind of entrepreneurs who have changed the game; changed the status quo, and because of them – a new common has gotten created. Such people inspire me!

I am inspired by Kiran Mazumdar Shaw’s story. I am currently reading a book on her called “Myth Breaker”. I am also highly inspired by Dr. Devi Shetty – while he is not a typical entrepreneur, he has changed the game of heart surgeries!”

Sameer is also a founder of Gift Your Organ Foundation, which is a not for profit organization working towards creating awareness and educating people on organ donation and transplantation.


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