“Winners NEVER quit! Failure is NOT an option!” Just kidding – it’s a great option. Beware of the idea that failure isn’t an option. First off, it detaches you from reality, which is never a good thing, because you can’t make good decisions when you don’t have a grasp of reality.
Here’s reality: you can ALWAYS fail.
The board at Groupon turned down an offer for $6 billion buyout from Google in 2010. They probably thought they were going to valued at $10 billion or some insane goal, and “failure wasn’t an option!” Then Groupon plummeted, struggled (and continues to struggle a bit), and is now worth about $3 billion (50% less than what they could have had). Imagine working for 8 years, stressing out hard core during that period (because it hasn’t been great for them for the last 8 years), AND losing $3 billion.
The Groupon team probably said that “failure wasn’t an option,” and that massive break from reality actually made them fail.
Seth Godin talks extensively in the book The Dip on why knowing when to quit is critical for you to admit failure and be able to move onto something else rather than continuing to waste time on it. Jeff Bezos is known for his complete lack of fear of failure and has no problem trying many different business models that fail rapidly and he gives up.
But what about “winners never quit!?” Winners don’t quit when things get hard, but winners absolutely quit when they know it’s time to move on.
If you feel like failure isn’t an option, it creates fear of trying something new, and if you have fear, you don’t do anything. The “failure is not an option” mantra is probably the best way to simultaneously pep yourself up, then achieve absolutely nothing. Those people brag about how they never fail, but nevermind the fact that they never try anything, and therefore never succeed either.
Failure is an always an option, and realizing that can actually help you avoid failing.