Thursday, May 04, 2006

My failure is my success

My column at Sun.Star today is "My failure is my success". It was inspired by John Maxwell's book Failing Forward. I hope you'll like it.

Update (September 21, 2010): I just realized that the article is not available online and hereby re-posting it.

I often receive praises for the things I’ve done in the past. With the kind words comes the inevitable question, “how do you keep on doing it?” Ironically, an act that others may perceive a big success is not necessarily perceived as such by its creator. Some people even consider what others see as success a failure.

Most of us have ideas for dream projects. More often than not, we pursue these believing they have possible positive impact—fun, revenue and, for some, stature. In my case, my ideas are primarily driven by a combination of such motivating factors.

However, very rarely can one achieve them all. Some of the things I did that other people considered successful, were disappointing to me. These disappointments were also my own doing as I missed to consider issues or underestimated things that could have made a difference. These lessons inspire me to think through and try on new ideas once more.

Our failures are results of our actions, risks we have undertaken in doing something that didn’t turn out right. Rather than linger on these disappointments, it is best to collect your thoughts, ponder, re-strategize and focus on current or new challenges that you can try to conquer and hopefully prevail.

I believe that those who have tried and failed are far better off than those who have not tried at all. They have high chances of being successful someday. With the Internet, no one is stopping you from picking up yourself and trying all over again. It is a fair game.

FunChain.com’s Jason Banico, who has just finished his fellowship at the Reuters Digital Vision Program in Stanford University, made a very interesting post in his blog
(http://www.funchain.com/~jasonbanico) about the lack of innovative application development activities in the Philippines by the young—even for fun.

From the events he participated in, he noted that some of the most successful applications were those developed for fun and usefulness by its creators. His view also follows the framework espoused by Tim O’Reilly in his radar talk on innovation development (http://radar.oreilly.com).

In our exchange, I mentioned that the youth’s priority is influenced by the need to survive and achieve financial stability at a young age. In fact, a lot of them are already pressured to work even before they can finish college.

As a result, creativity is put on hold and only pursued when the right opportunity comes along. Today, perhaps only the rich who can afford gadgets and have parental support can do fun and creative projects of their own.

To move forward, our generation needs to explore how innovation can be fostered especially among the young. Should the academe provide such an environment without dictating or imposing what it believes to be technologies that are popular or practical?

Will this environment provide the necessary support where failure is not the end but a stepping stone to keep on trying to do better?