Published On: Wed, Jul 20th, 2016

THE BOON AND NECESSITY OF ENTREPRENEURIAL FAILURE – RAJESH NAIR – Director, Ernst & Young LLP


Entrepreneurship has always been a contact sport! The ordeal, skills and competencies that build entrepreneurs are to be cultivated first hand, much through trial and error than the insights from lectures and text books. The best way to build your entrepreneurship muscle is to try your hand at it. The best minds in business , at times, hesitate to embark on it , because of the risks, the lack of clarity on how the future landscape will roll out, how the regulatory constraints may turn tide and lack of confidence and will, to weather ‘unnecessary storms’. But in most cases, this hesitance is because of the ‘fear of failure’!

Anxiety and fear are normal in countering challenges. While we say anxiety drives several physical disabilities and drives away peace of mind, there is a role for ‘fear’ in several of our endeavors. Fear clarifies, fear drives adrenaline, fear drives mindfulness and fear begets success! The issue of fear is not just about how we deal with it but how others deal and opine on our failures.

Entrepreneurship has been getting its due in the west for more than a century now. The cultural acceptance of an entrepreneur, has driven the best minds to start organisations which have become epitomes of creativity and innovation. Much to this success has to be attributed on how we condition ourselves to failure and how the society perceives entrepreneurial failure.

Traditionally, in most pockets in India, the stigma attached to entrepreneurial has been immense. Parents of yesterday, would prefer their children to pursue a career in a professional stream like engineering, medicine, finance (banks) or education. Entrepreneurship has been somewhere connected to ‘unbridled avarice’ as if it is the path followed by someone who wanted to make more wealth than what is necessary or perhaps as someone who lacked the scruples of an honest professional. In this context, when an entrepreneur fails, those around him displays a silent ‘schadenfreude’ – German word which means ‘deriving pleasure in someone else’s misery! The hoi polloi believed that this is providence coming down as nemesis on someone who took the ‘easier route’! But this is changing now in India!

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THE BOON AND NECESSITY OF ENTREPRENEURIAL FAILURE – RAJESH NAIR – Director, Ernst & Young LLP