你对失败有多热衷?/How Enthusiastic Are You About Failing?

你对失败有多热衷?

我想不出有谁会期待失败。有些人完全惧怕失败,而另一些人则适应力较强,反弹得相对较快。

不同文化、不同社会和不同的教育体制,会造成应对失败的方法千差万别。不出意料,父母对于子女的失败教育也大相径庭。

下面是一位超级成功的美国创业者对父母之道的表述,我想许多读者都会从中发现与自身经历的不同:

“小时候,爸爸会鼓励我和哥哥失败。坐在餐桌旁,爸爸会问:‘这星期你俩又有哪些失败?’如果我说不出什么,他就会感到失望。如果有的话,他就会和我击掌相庆。当时我没有意识到,爸爸彻底重塑了我对年轻时失败的定义。对于我来说,失败就意味着没有尝试,而不是结果。如果我不得不揽镜自语:‘我因为害怕而没有尝试’,那才是失败。”

——Spanx品牌创始人萨拉•布雷克里。她曾当选为2012年度最年轻白手起家女富豪、《时代》杂志100名最具影响力人物。 “失败了也能有收获”的概念已经存在了一段时间,尤其是对创业者而言。依照传统的看法,从创业到破产,最大的红利就是收获了智慧和经验,让创业者更加才思敏捷。

据《财富》杂志报道,最新研究显示,失败也许还有一些其他鲜为人知的收效。
加州大学伯克利分校金融学教授Gustavo Manso在一篇颇具影响力的论文中阐明,自谋职业者若进入企业就职,往往会要求较高的薪酬。

猎头专家向《财富》杂志表示,大公司越来越倾向于招聘有创业背景、想法不同、掌握多种技能的员工。

新创企业往往迫使创始人速成各种商业知识,帮他们确定职业发展的好恶,其过程比在大公司间跳槽要快得多。  根据Manso的调查,自谋职业不满两年便放弃、且被其他企业录用者,一般在薪酬上不会处于劣势;而坚持2年以上的创业者待遇会比同僚平均高出10%-20%。

来自宾州大学沃顿商学院的另一份调查发现,无论成功与否,创业者的工作满意度往往高于工薪族。 而就我个人观察,失败也是谦逊的绝佳养成地。有些人生来谦逊,而有些人则需要吃点苦头才能学会。
在领导力中,如果一端是谦逊,相对的另一端就是自大。

正如吉姆•柯林斯在他的著名短作《巨人如何倒下》中所述:

“在古希腊,自大被定义为可将英雄拉下马的过分骄傲,或是……让无辜者痛苦不堪的极度傲慢……”

“自大是一家公司任性地闯入自己无法领先的领域,是企业追求缺乏卓越品质的过渡增长,是面对矛盾或不利证据做出的莽撞冒险决定,是否认企业受外部威胁或内部侵蚀会面临风险的可能。还有一种可能遇到的隐性自大形式就是傲慢地忽视。”

因此,从各方面考虑,我们都应该用更开放的心态,来看待失败的积极作用和带来的学习机会。

How Enthusiastic Are You About Failing?

I can’t think of anyone who looks forward to failing. Some people are absolutely terrified of it, while others are more resilient and tend to bounce backrelatively quickly.

Approaches to dealing with failure vary hugely among different cultures, societies and educational systems.Not surprisingly,parents also take widely differing approaches to teaching their children about failure.

This quote from a super successful American entrepreneur illustrates one parenting strategy, which I think most readers will find radically different from their own experience:

“When I was growing up, my dad would encourage my brother and I to fail. We would be sitting at the dinner table and he would ask, ‘So what did you guys fail at this week?’ If we didn’t have something to contribute, he would be disappointed. When I did fail at something, he’d high-five me. What I didn’t realize at the time was that he was completely reframing my definition of failure at a young age. To me, failure means not trying; failure isn’t the outcome. If I have to look at myself in the mirror and say, ‘I didn’t try that because I was scared ,’ that is failure.”

– Sara Blakely, Spanx founder, who was named in 2012 as the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world, as well as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people

The idea that failure has payoffs, especially for entrepreneurs, has been around for a long time. The traditional view has been that the main dividends from a start-up going belly up are the acquired wisdom and experience, which can help sharpen the thinking of the entrepreneur.

According to new research, as reported in Fortune, there may be other less widely recognized payoffs.

An influential research paper by Gustavo Manso, Professor of Finance at the University of California at Berkeley, demonstrates that if previously self-employed folks later seek employment in the corporate world, they are likely to command higher pay packages.

Sources in the field of executive search told Fortune that big companies are increasingly looking to recruit people with entrepreneurial backgrounds, who tend to think differently and have a broader array of skill-sets.

Start-ups tend to offer their founders a diversified business education at warp speed, often helping them determine personal career likes and dislikes at a much faster rate than would be possible by job-hopping in bigger companies.

According to Manso’s research, people who tried entrepreneurship and gave it up after less than two years were not penalized in terms of pay when they moved to another employer. Those who lasted more than 2 years as entrepreneurs ended up earning an average of 10 to 20% more than their peers.

Another piece of research, by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, found that – whether successful or otherwise – entrepreneurs tended to have higher levels of work-life satisfaction than salaried folks.

My own observation about failure is that it is also an excellent breeding ground for humility. Some people start out humble. Many more need to learn it the hard way.

In the leadership context, if humility is at one end of the spectrum, then the opposite end is hubris.

As Jim Collins wrote in his short but powerful book “How the Mighty Fall” :

‘Dating back to ancient Greece, the concept of hubris is defined as excessive pride that brings down a hero, or alternatively …outrageous arrogance that inflicts suffering on the innocent…

‘We will see hubris in undisciplined leaps into areas where a company cannot become the best. We will see hubris in a company’s pursuit of growth beyond what it can deliver with excellence. We will see hubris in bold, risky decisions that fly in the face of conflicting or negative evidence. We will see hubris in denying even the possibility that the enterprise could be at risk, imperiled by external threats or internal erosion. And we will encounter one of the most insidious forms of hubris: arrogant neglect.’

So, all things considered, we should be more open-minded about the positive side-effects and learning opportunities associated with failure.


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