Should Failure Be Practiced?

This article is contributed by Vybhava Srinivasan, a Chartered Accountant, and Data Science Enthusiast. Vybhava currently works with Availity India as a General Manager – BPO & Finance. Vybhava is also a Flight Simulation enthusiast and co-founder of Flight4Fantasy.


In our personal and professional life, we make many decisions and take actions, some will succeed and some will fail. As much as we prepare and do groundwork prior to taking decisions or actions, accurately predicting a failure or success is not always possible. Should failure be practiced? Should we make deliberate mistakes?

I am super passionate about flying an aircraft. I fulfill this passion by using my homemade Boeing 737 flight simulator.

I love flying on my simulator between Frankfurt (EDDF) to Amsterdam (EHAM) along with other folks from around the world over a virtual network (IVAO). This passion allows me to have a few commercial pilot friends. I cherish my conversations with them, and I’ve learned a lot about being a pilot. I’ve learned that commercial pilots, irrespective of experience, go through periodic flight simulator sessions and spend hours practicing failures of various types (engine, hydraulic, etc.). Practicing failure is a norm for pilots.

Imagine a pilot encountering for the first time a malfunction midflight; it is a scary situation. The pilots practice similar failures numerous times so they can react in the best possible manner without panicking.

“It is fine to celebrate success, but it is important to heed the lessons of failure”

Bill Gates

Often in our personal or professional life, we make decisions and take actions that result in success or failure. When we succeed, we celebrate, but when we fail, what do we do? Failure is an inevitable part of life. No matter how much we plan, sometimes we are bound to fail. Smart people take note of the reasons for failure, learn from them, and move on.

But how many of us deliberately practice failure like the pilots? What if we intentionally make mistakes? Consciously making mistakes is useful, especially given the following scenarios:

  • There is much to gain from the mistake relative to the cost of the mistake.
  • When assumptions frequently drive decisions, the strategy of making deliberate mistakes is likely to be valuable.
  • The environment is dynamic.
  • The problem is complex, and there are numerous solutions.

If you want to succeed, double your failure rate.

Thomas Watson

You would rather double the failure rate by making deliberate mistakes. If we want to avoid mistakes, especially when the stakes are high, practicing failure or making deliberate mistakes may be an excellent way to prepare ourselves.

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