In the recent months, I have been thinking about the journey we take as entrepreneurs. This is not always a logical one and it has many twists and turns but as a lecturer I know it’s important to present a structured approach with a limited set of options. But as a realist, I also know the path to true enlightenment may be through the pit of delusion.
The message that failure is a good thing is one which many people are now talking about, yet I find our education system still thinks in a binary way, you either pass or fail and this can only be done at defined points, normally set by your age.
Our Examination system teaches us from a young age that there is only one right answer and many wrong ones. This then provides society with a view of you, typically a grade from A* to U. We sit and judge you from afar, if too many get high marks then the exams were easy, if too little get high mark then the youth of today are spending too much time on their Xbox. The hard fact for many young people is that the grade is final and they be able to change it, even if they get better at that subject. You never get the opportunity to learn from your mistakes or gain a higher grade.
Yet Entrepreneurship is about the path your take and the reactions to the decisions and not the decisions themselves.
Everyone is expected to take the wrong turn at some point and the important thing is how you get back on track. How do you learn from the situation? How do you react to your mistake? How do you reflect on the situation and opportunities surrounding you at this point?
Let me explain this in terms of driving from London to Paris. If you made one wrong turn at any point, then as long as you recognized this fact and acted on this information to rectify it, you would still arrive in Paris. It may or not take longer or extra time. yet our education system would have failed you and asked you to never drive this route again.
I always explain starting a successful business as having to make one hundred right decisions. Out of how many I do know know. Over what time I do now t know. I don’t know what feedback loop will be in place. When will I know that I have done it?
We all agree that these decisions will need to be made and that some of them will be shown to be wrong. (Either the right decision at the wrong moment or the wrong decision at the right moment) This is not a fail, just another opportunity to learn, rethink the plan and evaluate your surroundings.
Our secondary education system needs to develop an opportunity to reflect on the learning and allow the learner to build this into their learning plan moving forward.
Your path is your own and only on your reflection can you mark yourself.