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Learn to fail better & achieve success


Many think failing is the inability to achieve a goal. But a more helpful definition is the failure to learn from the attempt. Over time, some of the most successful stories begin with a number of failures, some of them monumental. Look at the classic examples of Walt Disney, Henry Ford and Milton Hershey, all of whom went bankrupt before they found success. After a few failures, they all learned enough to capture success.

Some commentators advocate that the point of a business is to fail frequently and learn as quickly as possible (The Lean Start-Up, for example). More learning is achieved from failure than success, and human evolution certainly favors learning from failure rather than success. As an example, for primitive Neanderthals, failure could mean death, so lessons for survival were quickly learned. When we succeed, we may learn what works or may simply have been lucky, such that it is unclear what the lesson is. When we fail, we learn how to create something better. The lesson of failure can be painful but is distinctly remembered. Therefore, failure may be the fastest way to learn the important lessons and speed your success.

From a patent point of view, you may want to file as early as possible, to prevent others from pre-dating your filing (beating you to the chase). However, keep in mind it’s also important to file after the product has been developed, that way you include and protect the lessons that have been learned through the failures of previous product designs.

In the patent system, there is often a reason to see opportunity in setbacks. When shortcomings in your patent application are noticed by the examiner, that is your chance to invest your energy and resources to close the cited gaps and create something better than initially imagined. Next time you fail with an endeavor, before you take pity on yourself, try to assess why the failure occured and what steps you need to take moving forward.



The materials in this blog are not for the purpose of providing legal advice and are provided for informational purposes only. By using this site you are not entering into an attorney-client relationship with MU Patents. If you need legal advice you should contact an attorney directly.


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