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In a recent post, I wrote about the ‘Benefits of Failure’ in which the author JK Rowling explained the practical advantage of failing. She believes that failure is a part of success, not opposite to success.

In this post Donald Latumahina, author of the outstanding lifeoptimizer blog, explains that the mindset, ‘Failure is an option’, is a game changer. He cites the highly successful CEO, Patrick Doyle who attributes much of his own success to his mindset.

Latumahina takes up the story.

“For Doyle, failure is an option. He explains that there are two great ills called “omission bias” and “loss aversion”:

  • Omission bias is the tendency to worry more about doing something than not doing something, because everyone sees the results of a move gone bad, and few see the costs of moves not made.
  • Loss aversion describes the tendency to play not to lose rather than play to win.

We all need to overcome these two ills. Why? Because they make us just stay in our comfort zone. They make us unwilling to try new things because we may fail and look bad in front of others.

To overcome them, you need to have the right mindset. The right mindset is this: failure is fine, so take risks and try new things. Having this mindset can change your life.

Here are three tips to put this mindset into action:

1. Know your options

Before you can try something new, you need to know your options. You need to know what the possibilities are. So make sure that you stay informed. For this, you should read books, blogs, or listen to podcasts. Then when you find something interesting, take note of it.

2. Experiment

After knowing your options, you need to experiment with them. My favorite way of doing this is to create side projects.

3. Learn and adjust

Your side project could come out as a success or a failure. If it fails, then that’s fine; just regard it as a learning opportunity. Learn all you can from it and adjust yourself accordingly. If it succeeds, then you can commit more resources to it.

You need to take risks to make progress in your life. Yes, you could fail, but remember that you could succeed. The success will never come if you never try.

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Both JK Rowling and Patrick Doyle’s approach characterises mentally tough people high in the C of Challenge, namely someone who is always striving to achieve their personal best and who view setbacks as a learning opportunity.

Paul Lyons is an experienced CEO who coaches leaders to improve their performance and wellbeing by developing their mental toughness and mindset. You can find him at and