Big Shots Who Failed Big Time

Failure is key part of entrepreneurship. As my mentor, Alan Weiss says, “If you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough.”

This article in the Wall Street Journal points out some rather well known, successful, people who failed right out of high school by not getting into their choice of college. Warren Buffet, Tom Brokaw, Ted Turner, Scott McNealy, the list goes on. A comment from Mr. Buffett:

“The truth is, everything that has happened in my life…that I thought was a crushing event at the time, has turned out for the better,” Mr. Buffett says. With the exception of health problems, he says, setbacks teach “lessons that carry you along. You learn that a temporary defeat is not a permanent one. In the end, it can be an opportunity.”

Mr. Buffett regards his rejection at age 19 by Harvard Business School as a pivotal episode in his life. Looking back, he says Harvard wouldn’t have been a good fit. But at the time, he “had this feeling of dread” after being rejected in an admissions interview in Chicago, and a fear of disappointing his father.

You are in excellent company when you fail at something. No failure, no progress.

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