In praise of failure

15 Sep

There’s a strong case to be made for failure. Darwin argued that species evolved from common origins to exploit opportunities provided by the natural environment – and clearly this process led to many failures along the way. Business and entrepreneurship adopts a similar approach to natural selection and you can argue that determination may be the biggest factor characterising those who succeed.

In our own lives, setbacks may have served a bigger purpose. (A failure in my first driving test may have made me safer behind the wheel.) And yet, it’s frustrating that there’s so much wastage in higher education. More students start a course than complete the journey – though failure to meet the standard is not the most common factor in this.

We’re welcoming our new students next week. Every individual is unique, but experience suggests that most will succeed; some spectacularly so; and some will discover this isn’t the subject for them. I’m also welcoming back some recent graduates who want to share with others their excitement at being in their first jobs – and talk about the opportunities within their PR consultancies. In evolutionary terms, public relations is still a growth industry (and setbacks and failures are probably a necessary preparation for work in this sector.)

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