Want To Be Successful? You Must First Learn To Fail.

Trying and failing is much more interesting that playing it safe and consistently succeeding.

What is the Big Idea?


Walter Mosley is famous for his mystery and crime fiction. But there is very little mystery behind the secret to his success.  First, writing takes practice. Mosley has been writing every day for the last 27 years. Then, he says, he writes without regard for acceptance or success.

“Some of my stories work, some of them don’t work,” said the 60-year-old.  “Some of them are like, you know, fit perfectly into you know, like a structure that somebody would want to publish and deal with.  It doesn’t matter to me because I’m writing, I’m using language and I’m using that language to tell stories and even more so to get ideas across.”

Mosley writes because he loves it, and not because he needs fame or recognition. His passion and willingness to fail may be the source of his award-winning career as a novelist. He is the author of more than 37 books, which have been translated into 23 languages.

“I never really thought I’d be successful,” he said. “I never thought I’d get books published, but this was something completely beyond me.  You know, the fact that it happened is wonderful, but it is not something that I was aiming for.”

What is the Significance?

Failure is a daunting concept in this competitive economy, where job seekers and employees are expected to outshine their peers in order to rise to the top.  But whether you’re attempting to write your first crime novel or start your own company, trying and failing is much more interesting that playing it safe and consistently succeeding.

Growth and learning happens when you fail, says Mosley.

“In art and in science it’s failure that teaches you,” he said. “Doing something right never teaches you.  It’s only failure that you learn from.”

Watch Walter Mosley talk about the role of failure in a successful career:

Image courtesy of djgis/Shutterstock.com.

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