Hope is a virtue... to have it, we must work at it.
- Mary Berry quoting her father, Wendell Berry
Entrepreneurship is hard. It sometimes destroys lives and livelihoods. This is precisely its greatest value, the best argument for doing it.
I'm not saying that failure builds character or any such trite nonsense, though it probably does do plenty of that. What I mean is a little more nuanced.
We came to earth to these specific lives, each for a reason, a specific purpose. That reason is to grow, to evolve, to remember and decide who we really are and choose to be next. Hopefully we manage to have a little fun along the way and also help others along their paths too, but it all starts with the personal growth.
I've failed many times as an entrepreneur, occasionally failing stupendously. I've had a few modest and short-lived successes. The successes and successful periods tend to be more enjoyable, but I learned almost nothing from them, at least not until they later morphed into failures. Nearly everything I've ever learned came directly from my failures.
The education gleaned from these failures is certainly priceless professionally, personally, and spiritually and will help me succeed more in the future. As Seth Godin professes, he succeeds because he fails a lot. However, that's been said many times. Once again, this is not the point of this post.
The deeper truth I'm digging for here is that because I learned, grew, remembered, and helped others to learn by avoiding my mistakes, these failures are in fact the very reasons I came to earth in the first place, thus paradoxically rendering each failure into a resounding success and each success into a temporary failure and wasted opportunity. When I succeed, I celebrate, share, and strive to succeed more. However, when I fail, I grow, and when I grow, I become more, which is the experience my soul (spirit, id, larger self) longs for.
Perhaps the trick is in learning how to learn from my successes so that I don't have to fail so much in order for my soul to succeed in its mission. Better yet, perhaps I need to create opportunities that succeed on their own terms, that serve others and make the world a better place whether I "fail" or not, that limit my downside, and promote personal growth, learning, and remembering.
Growth can't simply be an silver lining consolation prize while sifting through the rubble of failure, it's got to be part of the reason for even beginning.
From now on, that's where my opportunity funnel starts. Every new venture, project, or artistic endeavor must meet all those criteria first, including growth gained through success.