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Former Apple CEO John Sculley: You Learn From Your Mistakes, Not Your Successes

Guest Writer
4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

John Sculley is familiar with failure. Looking back, he can pinpoint mistakes he's made as CEO of Pepsi, and later, as CEO of Apple, some stemming from his lack "of technical skills."

Those failures hurt. But each one of them provided a learning opportunity. "One of the things I’ve learned is that you really only learn from your mistakes," he says. "You rarely ever learn from your successes."

In the end, some form of failure is inevitable. And the higher the stakes, the greater the fall.

Related: Former Apple CEO John Sculley: This Is What Made Steve Jobs a Genius

"If you’re going to be doing something transformative, and really be an entrepreneur, you are going to make some mistakes because you’re taking on high risk…And so you will find your back up against the wall," he says. "It just knocks the wind out of you. You feel down, you wonder if you’re ever going to recover. But another characteristic of a really good entrepreneur: never give up.  Never ever, ever give up."

The key to achieve greatness lies in one's ability to treat each mistake as a lesson, rather than a crushing defeat, and view failure not as a 'game over' sign, but rather, as a tool on the journey to even greater heights.

Watch John Sculley discuss his own experiences with failure in the above video.

Related: Former Apple CEO John Sculley on What Makes a True Mentor



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