There are many blog posts about startups talking about failing and trying again. In What I Wish Someone Had Told Me 4 Years Ago", there is an interesting quote at the end:

I want to leave you with a quote that changed my life: "successful people aren’t necessarily smarter or luckier than others. They just try so many things and fail until something works out."

So it looks like to be able to succeed, you might have to accept failure and try again. Accepting failure is perhaps the most important part.

In "Failure: How it powers Silicon Valley and handcuffs Japan", Vivek Wadhwa even says that it is the acceptance and glorification of failure that is Silicon Valley's greatest competitive advantage:

This is something that Silicon Valley figured out long ago, and that is how it left other tech centers in the dust. Failure is regarded as a badge of honor, not as an object of shame. When you meet tech entrepreneurs in Palo Alto or Berkeley and ask them what they do, they typically tell you about their current startup; then they start showing off about all of their previous failures—because to have failed means to have gained experience and to have learned.

Yeah, failure is not so bad if you can learn and gain useful experience from it.

The lesson that other regions need to learn from Silicon Valley is to glorify and embrace their failed entrepreneurs.

The article is really great about explaining all this. Especially it talks about the fact that startups are all about experimenting:

In the old days, most businesses were in manufacturing, services, or retail. A business failure was associated with unethical practices or mismanagement. Things moved slowly. But the tech world is very different. Even though the basics of building a business are always the same, technology changes rapidly and so requires the creation of new business models. New technologies and business models are developed through experimentation. Entrepreneurs start risky ventures to test their ideas and raise financing from others who have been down the path before—and achieved success. And they learn from one another. Innovation is a by-product of this synergy and experimentation.

So startups are like scientific experiments. In chemistry for example, you try something and hope that you will get an interesting product. Maybe it will have the properties you want and maybe not. If not, then the product has perhaps other interesting properties. And anyway you hopefully learned something in the process, so your next experiments are more likely to succeed.

Another great article about this is Nourishing a Culture of Failure. The author says:

I teach teams how to be agile — that is, I try to help companies have their people work more like Google and less like the IRS. And as part of that, the first thing I look for is whether or not they have created a culture of failure.

In fact, the first thing I look at in any system of people is whether or not they have created a culture of failure. We desperately need more failure in the world, and we need to start encouraging it.

It seems counter intuitive, but:

The problem is: innovation is not a science. It doesn't work from the top-down. It works from the bottom-up. You can't decide ahead of time that every problem has a solution that this particular team can discover. What I want to see in my agile teams is the ability to say "The parameters you have given us preclude us from achieving the goals you want. Therefore we must stop"

So the author says that innovation is not a science, but in fact it looks like it is really like scientific research, where you can't decide if you will find a solution. If you know that there is a solution, then it is applied science, not research. But anyway I agree with the author about everything else. He continues like this:

That's failure. Cold, hard, honest failure. Sorry boss, it was a great idea but you were smoking crack. Either change the rules or stop. You've failed. It's not happening. I know you made a nice speech to the board about how we're going to change the face of the company, but that was rhetoric, this is reality.

Yeah, sometimes we have to accept the reality that we failed. It's difficult because of the fear to fail:

Everything we see in modern culture, from TV to movies to Facebook, tells us that there are three modes: success, failure, or not trying. The vast majority of people are not trying. They sit around watching TV or playing games, content in the knowledge that if they do not try, they will never fail.

Yeah, many things in the world can protect us from failure by making us not trying.

Politicians, sensing this fear to fail, run on platforms that tell us there is no failure. Lose your job? No problem. We'll pay your expenses. Have a house you can't afford? No problem, we'll make the banks come to terms. Need health insurance? No problem, we'll make sure that's provided for.

Politicians are very good at protecting us too. Ok, but what now?

I firmly believe that emotional support, encouragement, and community support can be critical factors in success. What I'm trying to point out is that the coin has another side: that failure — falling flat on your ass, painful, humiliating failure — is a critical part of innovation and startups. When good-meaning people try to sell you on some idea or plan for innovation that's supposed to be great and heavenly, you have to ask yourself "How will this fail?"

Because if you're not having failure — and a lot of it — it's never going to work.

But why? Here comes a great explanation:

Parts of life are chaotic. They work best by creative destruction, by random attempts and failures, by the randomness of certain events happening together. We have a really hard time grokking this. We want life to be an engineered thing. By blanketing life with billions of full-hearted attempts at success that end in failure, we optimize the chances that various pieces come together for the betterment of all. In the long run, the failures don't matter, the successes do. But to have more successes we must necessarily have more failures. Lots more. We need a million times as many failures as we currently have.

Yeah, many things in life cannot be engineered, they are chaotic by nature. There is a lot of randomness, that we just can't take into account. We have to accept that and so accept failure and even glorify it.

Politicians don't get elected on failure. Mid-level managers don't get promoted on failure. TV shows and movies aren't done about failures. You will never read an article with a title like "The Silicon Valley: Home to Far More Failures than Anywhere on Earth".

The Silicon Valley is indeed the place where there are far more failures than anywhere on earth, and that's why there are many of the greatest successes too.

Failure — aside from being A Bad Word — just doesn't exist in public. No wonder so many people shy away from it.

So what do you do when you fail? Do you shy away from it? Or do you try again? Why not? What are the excuses you are making up to convince yourself that you should not try again? Don't you still want to succeed? And didn't you learn something from the failure? If yes, don't you think you have much better chances to succeed now?