How failures lead to success



Clinical psychologist Samuel West who loves to research failed products and find out why they flopped opened Sweden’s Museum of Failures. West believes that success is a result of failure and that making mistakes can lead to success.

The museum has over 65 items on display. These items flopped despite the large amount of money spent on research, feasibility studies and marketing. They include Google Glasses, Trump: The Game, Sony’s Betamax, Coke Blak (a coffee-flavored soda), Harley-Davidson perfume “Hot Road,” and many other items.

Although they flopped, these products helped the companies that produced them better understand the market and customers and return with stronger products that took the market by storm. The best example is Apple’s Newton, which was a complete failure but helped the company produce the iPhone.

I wish the museum would feature the failures of great people like Nelson Mandela, Ghandi, King Abdulaziz Al-Saud, etc. King Abdulaziz failed to conquer Riyadh several times but finally succeeded in 1902. Mandela spent 27 years in prison before becoming President of South Africa, while Ghandi fought British colonialism all of his life and was and still is the spiritual father of India.

The lesson Saudi youth should learn is that the path to success is not easy and one might fail several times before succeeding. Look at the biographies of celebrities, the wealthy and great leaders, and you will see this fact clearly manifest itself.

The other day, I saw an interview with Chinese tycoon Jack Ma, the richest man in Asia and founder of the Alibaba Website for online shopping. He not only twice failed elementary school but also failed intermediate school three times and high school four times. No college would admit him. He was rejected for jobs 30 times despite speaking good English and being able to design websites. When Kentucky opened its first restaurant in China, he applied for a job. All applicants were accepted except him.

These failures led him to develop a brand-new idea. He opened a small online store that today, within a matter of a few years, has become the largest online store in China and Southeast Asia. Jack Ma is worth over $12 billion today.