Anyone who pays attention to Israeli society inevitably knows about its “startup” culture. Israel is one of the world’s entrepreneurial hubs, with the highest number of startups per capita in the world. How did a tiny country in a hostile neighborhood with no natural resources become such an economic prowess?
The gist of the answer lies in the social networks and leadership training developed by Israeli’s mandatory military service--significant decision-making responsibility is placed on young soldiers at a young age. However, while compulsory military service is certainly a major component of Israel’s economic miracle, it doesn’t tell the complete story. A culture that is rooted in critique and fostered by centuries of Jewish tradition encourages people to challenge authority and embrace risk taking. Israelis are not afraid to fail, so long as they fail forward.
Failure is inevitable in life. Any entrepreneur who sets out to create something authentic and substantial understands that chances for success are very low, and that failure is likely. Everyone makes mistakes, but what separates the successful from the failed entrepreneur is how one can capitalize on those mistakes and deal with adversity. Think of it as trading financial capital with knowledge capital. Failure is painful for everyone, but it must be a foundation for success.
So get out there, make some mistakes. Embrace failure--it provides experience and wisdom. Write a business plan, put it into action, don’t be afraid to change and adapt. Fail--as long as you fail forward.