‘Desire to Succeed’ & ‘Fear of Failure’

Innovation is pursued inorder for companies(and brands) to have success – in market place, with consumers against competition. But this comes with the fear that new(innovative) products(or processes or services or ..) may not succeed and the outcome may be different (and even contrary) from the objective. Thus, ‘Desire to Succeed’ and ‘Fear of Failure’ co exist as part of innovation. Most teams experience these two emotions.

What would happen if one of these were not to be there?

In the absence of ‘Desire to Succeed’ the drive, energy and passion needed to pursue innovation would not be strong enough and the output would most likely be nothing exciting or innovative to begin with. It would ofcourse be slow and turn the brand/company into a follower or laggard.

In the absence of ‘Fear of Failure’ the innovation team would be quick. The speed of execution or going to market would be indeed very high but it can also be reckless. Many processes/checks would be short circuited which could lead to output which does not succeed. Leading to lower efficiency and higher costs.

A balance where the two provide the counter check is essential. The Innovation team needs to have strong and demonstrated ‘Desire to Succeed’ so that there is enough energy and focus behind the pursuit of Innovation. The ‘Fear of Failure’ ensures that the team devotes enough time to understand the critical issues, consumer requirements and foresee(thus prepare for) future problems. This is likely to lead to success i.e support the ‘Desire to Succeed’. Of course, ‘Fear of Failure’ should not be the primary driver but a supporting one.

Therefore, contrary to belief ‘Fear of Failure’ can support ‘Desire to Succeed’ and they are two sides of the same coin.

11 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Absolutely correct, Spot on. Very good article and helps entrepreneurs to take the step ahead with desire to succeed.

  2. 2

    Vineet Trakroo said,

    Good article, how true. But l think the drive for desire to succeed has to be higher to overcome the probability of failure, that is where the leader comes in.

  3. 3

    Sanjay Ghatpande said,

    Yes, “Desire to Success” is nothing but another side of the coin “Fear of Failure”. You have rightly said, ‘Desire to Succeed’ and ‘Fear of Failure’ co exist. Both these instincts not only co-exist as part of innovation but they do co-exist in other part of life too. However, I differ a bit as they are not emotions but they are instincts. Instinct is an inborn pattern of behavior that is characteristic of a species and that is often a response to specific environmental stimuli. Whereas, Emotion is a mental state that arises spontaneously rather than through conscious effort and is often accompanied by physiological changes. And, neither Desire to Success nor Fear of Failure happen spontaneously.
    Thanks for expressing out these feelings, as henceforth, whenever I will look at my goals, I will always see from the side of Desire to Succeed and not from the side of Fear of Failure. Because, though they are the two sides of the same coin, the price of the coin will be always different if the other side is up.

  4. 4

    Anuradha said,

    I think Innovation follows its own cycle in the life of a corporation. At times it is triggered by the desire to succeed or make a difference which is internal driven, i.e. the motivation comes from within the organization.

    At other times, it is fear of failure, which is essentially driven by external factors like actions by competition, changing trends or socio-economic conditions.

    They both play a role in driving innovation in an organization. What we need is an understanding of what is required when?

  5. 5

    Krishnan said,

    Dear Davinder,

    Very good way of bringing out the positive factor of both sides of a coin. Your article reminds me of the following quote:

    “We need the optimist and the pessimist, both. The optimist makes the airplane and the pessimist makes the parachute.”

    Good to be in touch.

    Great Regards.

  6. 6

    Manjeet Sahu said,

    Rightly said both the emotions are required & have their own role to play , however the critical question is how to balance these n leverage it along with d resources available within d time frame

  7. 7

    Milan Wahi said,

    A good point Davinder, Desire to Suuceed will always be the motivator to an individual and it would be in the shadows of Fear of Failure, This would be different for every indiviual depending on his risk taking capacity.

  8. 8

    vijay ghuge said,

    it was quite interesting anf motivated article….Nice to read !

    Vijay Ghuge
    (Belongs to packaging industry)

  9. 9

    Oletubo 'Yinka said,

    I will relate this with a quote from Winston Churchill “Success is not FINAL, failure is not FATAL: it is the COURAGE to continue that COUNTS.”

  10. 10

    Oommen Abraham said,

    Thought provoking article.

    Desire to Succeed in life leads to do newer way of doing things. Innovators do not have the fear of failure, they keep trying different ways till they succeed. They are high risk takers with never say die attitude.

  11. 11

    This is a wonderful article.

    As a start-up entrepreneur, I can say the following. It was the desire to succeed that prompted me to take the plunge.

    However, initially when the going was tough, fear of failure made it look as though I was doomed. However, many a time the fear comes to you because you do not analyse the situation or because you do not plan well enough. This fear is minimised, if one develops good systems and have well-drafted plans.

    However the fear of failure is very essential as the lack of it will lead to recklessness. Also it is very essential to remember that there are solutions to every problem. Believe me, we have come unscathed from some nearly hopeless situations.

    Again Thanks for giving me an opportunity to read this wonderful article.


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