Are you ready for failure? Success is 99% failure…

Are you afraid of failure? I don’t know how many times pJohn Romano - Success - Fort Lauderdaleeople have said to me, “What if I fail…” My usual response is, “So what? Join the club.  Everyone fails.  It’s what you do with it that matters.” But recently I heard the perfect quote for these situations.  Sochiro Honda, the founder of Honda Motor Company said… “Success is 99% Failure.” That quote is a little confusing.
Here’s another one from him which makes it more clear: “Success represents the 1% of your work which results from the 99% that is called failure.”

Failure is a stepping stone to success. It’s a natural progression. Instead of failure being something to be afraid of, it is to be embraced. When you were a child and took your first steps, did you ever fall? You probably did, just like everyone else. What about the first time you got on a bicycle? Probably you fell as well.
If you pick up golf tomorrow, do you expect to play on the PGA tour next week? Or join NBA the first time you hold a basketball in your hands? No.  In sports, you have to practice.

In science, it’s about a process of experimentation until a new discovery is made.
In business, it is about testing different approaches until you find the one customers love.
In advertising, it’s about optimizing each step of your campaign.

Every offer isn’t going to be a home run.  Every email isn’t going to produce a landslide of sales.  And playing it safe and doing what everyone else does isn’t the route to innovation and improvement.

Often the greatest improvements occur when you try something from outside of your industry. It’s a risk, but the greatest rewards come from the greatest risks.

In investing, they talk about managing risk. If you invest money in CDs, you have very little risk.  But you also get almost no return.  In fact, once you count inflation, you’re often getting negative returns. Stocks, bonds, real estate, and commodities like gold all introduce additional risks.   But there are also greater returns available here.

But where’s the greatest potential return for your investment? It’s in your own backyard in your own business. I’ve never earned a return in any outside investment like I have in my own business.  Not even close! But, that also means you need to take some intelligent risks in your own business.

Quit running from fear of failure. Manage your risk.  Keep mistakes small.  Let the winners multiply and run!

Written by

John Romano is an entrepreneur, marketing strategist, Internet consultant, blogger and an expert in the technical, conceptual, and content development of online startups. He is the founder of several ecommerce sites and has helped multiple companies launch successful online businesses.


  1. Steve

    Are you ready for failure? Success is 99% failure…

    Everyone wants to avoid failure. It has such a bad reputation, but you should not fear it. I challenge anyone to come forward and say they have learned more from their successes than they have from their failures. Failures are life’s great teachers. Without them, we would learn nothing.

  2. fisher

    Are you ready for failure? Success is 99% failure…

    another quote i like for not trying to avoid failing is ‘you cant hit the ball if you dont swing the bat’. it doesnt mean you should swing at every ball. it does mean that if you dont try, youll never succeed

  3. Kim Rawks!

    Are you ready for failure? Success is 99% failure…

    No pain, no gain? Nothing ventured, nothing gained? Lots of sayings that confirm that one truth you’ve conveyed in your post. I’m glad I have a ‘adventurous’ spirit. Taking a chance – even in business, even when I could fail – is a rush!

  4. Are you ready for failure? Success is 99% failure…

    Hi John, I am surprised not to see the famous quote by Edison in here ‘I have not failed – I have just found 10,000 ways that do not work’. Really great post, if we can all learn from our failures and use them to inform us then success will move ever closer.

    Enjoy the journey.


  5. Cmarten

    Are you ready for failure? Success is 99% failure…

    A very great lesson on learning from mistakes and perseverance. Too many people give up because they think that a temporary set-back equals failure. Failure is when you stop trying. That’s the only time you can be sure of never succeeding.

  6. Alexa

    Are you ready for failure? Success is 99% failure…

    Hockey great Wayne Gretsky said “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” …. so you just can’t let the fear of failure stop you. Not trying at all is the biggest failure of all in a sense. The important thing is to jump back in the saddle as quickly as possible after a setback and maintain a optimistic attitude about the future. So, the summarize – show up, persevere and stay positive!

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