Entrepreneurs and the Fear of Failure

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By Jess Phillips
girl with hands at face looking embarassed
Barclay’s has reported that the United States is less accepting of failure than other countries. The inability to accept failure is causing entrepreneurs to second guess themselves and sometimes even completely give up on entrepreneurship as a career.
In a survey of over 2,000 high net-worth individuals across 17 countries, the study found that “the U.S. and Europe may have dominated entrepreneurship in the second half of the 20th century, but the landscape is shifting.” A “tolerance for failure, and the ability to learn from setbacks, will be an important determinant of creating this vibrant entrepreneurial culture.”
Here’s the breakdown:
  • 74% of those surveyed believe a positive outlook on failure is essential for economic growth
  • Only 37% of respondents in the U.S. said past failures bode well for a new business, compared to 81% in the Middle East, 67% in Asia and 42% in Europe.
  • 41% of U.S. respondents said they would persist after a failing business model.
  • Respondents in the Middle East (55%) and Asia (53%) are more persistent in the face of failure.
  • Among those who considered themselves entrepreneurs, 39% said setbacks strengthened their character while only 21% of non-entrepreneurs agreed.

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