What’s Wrong with a Little Failure?

By now I’m sure you know that I’m an advocate of free enterprise. The free market is an amazing system based on the innovations that come from success and on the lessons that come from failure. In order for a free market to flourish, you need both winners and losers. The great thing about free enterprise is that the “losers” have the opportunity to grow from their failures and become “winners” in the future.

One of the things that concerns me today is the preoccupation with American businesses and/or individuals potentially failing. We must accept and encourage failure because failing shows that you are trying. Failure can be painful and challenging, but it is also beneficial. When you look at the core of the free market it gives us four freedoms:

  1. Freedom to try.
  2. Freedom to buy.
  3. Freedom to sell.
  4. Most importantly, freedom to fail.

Sometimes the government focuses on protecting the first freedom and misses the importance of the last.  They’re too concerned that we may try something new and end up failing. But can any system of institution keep man from failing? We all know the answer to that question is a resounding NO.

Let’s look at the scenario on a level that we can all relate to: a family. Let’s say that Mom and Dad represent the government. One parent wants to protect her children from hurt, disappointment, and failure. The other parent wants to raise tough kids who will excel in the real world. Let’s suppose that this family has four children. Mom and Dad raise the kids with love, respect, fun, and joy, and they set a great example of love in their marriage.

Can one of the kids still turn out a trouble maker who does the complete opposite of what his parents taught him? Of course. And can any of the kids out perform their parents in life and become more successful than what their parents envisioned? The answer there is also yes.

Doesn’t that tell us that no matter what we teach our kids and how well we raise them, once they become adults they’re still going to have the freedom to try, to buy, to sell, and to fail?  Didn’t our generation and the generations before us have those same freedoms?

The best thing we can do is give our kids our belief, love, encouragement, and suggestions. The same applies to running a nation, just on a much larger scale. If we constantly challenge the American people to try, to take risks, and to innovate, if we lift up our entrepreneurs when they succeed and when they fail, we keep alive the spirit of the great American pioneer who is never too afraid to try, win or lose.


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