When was the last time you made a paper airplane?
Here’s a fun exercise: stop reading this article for one minute, grab a blank piece of paper, and make the best paper airplane you can.
Now that you have your airplane, (you DID make it, right?) it’s time for the fun part… take your airplane, stand at the door and test how far your plane can fly.
I’m guessing your plane crashed..?
How do I know that?
Because all paper planes crash; just like how all startups fail. But the most successful people are those who pick up their crashed plane, and try to improve it for the next flight.
Those who continue to adjust their planes after crashes, start to fly further distances. If you want your plane to fly high, then every time you crash, go pick it up and try again with small modifications to see how your plane reacts and performs.
Look at the paper airplane you just created and evaluate your first test launch. Does the bow needs more weight? Do you need some sort of tape to hold the wings together? Are the wings large enough? Did you throw it at the right angle?
There are an unlimited amount of variables that affected your flight.
Startups are like paper airplanes. We have a vision, we do some initial work, we create, and then we see how far things will fly. Often times, things don’t work as planned.
So we re-adjust, we trim it up a bit, and we try again to see what happens. We fail, then we pick ourselves up, knowing that 99% of all businesses fail.
But real growth comes from these failures.
For every single success an entrepreneur has, they probably have 99 failures. The big difference is that they accept temporary failure.
I challenge you to measure the distance of your first paper airplane flight.Then improve your paper airplane design based on what went wrong. Try again and record the new distance. I imagine that most people will achieve a greater distance the second time around, and even further the third! Share your initial distance, then your subsequent distances and share it with me in the comment section. Others can learn from your mistakes and thus go further on their first launch.
Entrepreneurial success is no different.
All of us want to hit the market perfectly the first time. But this can’t be a reality.
Ultimately, the distance your paper airplane can fly might hit a limit, even if the plane has the best design. This happens with startups as well. They seem to launch and then hit a plateau. As an entrepreneur, you need to continue to reinvent yourself and your business, that is the definition of innovation.
The next time you have a temporary failure, think of it as walking to where you’ve thrown your airplane, picking it up, and throwing it again.
Challenge yourself to continue. See how far it goes, and regardless of the distance, walk to where it landed, pick it up and throw it again. Don’t be dismayed by shortfalls. Just pick it up, adjust your wings, and throw it again.
The person who keeps picking up their plane and throwing it, will get the furthest.