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Failure vs Mistake

Last updated Dec 26, 2012

The difference

We fail because of something we’ve never learned. We make mistakes because we have not learned from our failures. (Click to Tweet)


  • You try something new.  It does not work, you don’t reach your goal, etc. but you learn something valuable in return (there is a tradeoff).  You’re better off for trying and failing than for not trying at all.failure vs mistake
  • You’ve learned one more way that doesn’t work.
  • You can’t say “I should have known better”.
  • My mother always said “What did not kill me would sure God strengthen me”.


  • You try the same thing again, just as you did the first time, and somehow expect a different result.
  • The wife who returns to an abusive husband, expecting he’ll get better.
  • The sales rep who won’t change habits despite repeated months of under performance.
  • You can say “I should have known better”.

My failed business

My first business failed because there were things I did not know, that I did not know.

The world could use more people failing and fewer people making mistakes. (Click to Tweet)

Examples of famous failures (Click to see examples of famous failures)

Update 12/26/12: Just found a wonderful interview conducted by CEO Skip Prichard with baseball legend John Smoltz on the benefits of failure.


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