Success or Failure?

A friend of mine has just written a very interesting article on ‘Failure and Success’.  It’s worth a read.

While I agree mostly with what is said I do think it is possible sometimes to become too focused on ‘Success’ without realising that Success is a very personal thing and can mean very different things to different people.

Like the General who landed his army on the beaches and made them burn their boats so that they would fight a lot harder knowing that there was literally no way back – ‘Failure is not a option’ is a powerful mantra that can contribute to increased Success and hopefully victory.

Sun Tsu talked about this also in his book ‘The Art of War’ – he educated Generals to not block off *all* the avenues of retreat for the enemy, as like the burning of the boats, this leaves no way back and so makes the enemy fight so much harder.

I agree with this and with the sentiment expressed in the article. I would however point out that Success and Failure are relative as well as being moving targets. It is in my opinion fine to slide backwards and forwards between Success and Failure in your quest to achieve what it is you want to achieve.

It’s important to remember that Failure is not a static event and what once you may have considered Failure could in fact be Success and Success can surprise you by being not at all what you anticipated.

So don’t be too hard on yourself when chasing goals – take time to constantly evaluate what it is you define as Success and Failure and make sure you are actually chasing something worthwhile.

Andy Brice of Successful Software wrote an article recently talking about how it was all to easy to give up on a product and start on something new and ‘Shiny’. He is of course 100% correct and that temptation is always going to be there.

Where I disagree with him is where he states that ‘Continually abandoning work in progress for a new idea is also a form of cowardice. ‘ In my opinion you have to constantly re-assess the viability of your product during the development phase and if you no longer think it is viable, this can be for many reasons, then shutting down the project and ceasing development is far from cowardice – it is good business sense.

Like the need to continually reassess what constitutes Success and Failure for us, we also need to do that for our creations, Failure may be stopping development and doing something else or having analysed that the game has changed and our product is no longer relevant – then stopping development and doing something else is not Failure, it’s a form of success. Failure would have been carrying on and releasing a pointless product.

Success or Failure



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