Set goals you’re willing to try 5,127 times to achieve

Sitting at No. 124 on Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index, James Dyson, of vacuum-cleaner fame, is worth an estimated $14.5 billion. His eponymous family-held business made a reported $7.4 billion in revenue in 2021. And it only took 15 years and 5,127 prototypes to get going.

Writing for Wired, Dyson, in 2011, talked about the process of developing what ultimately brought him both fame and fortune: the cyclone technology used in his vacuums.

He wrote, “By the time I made my 15th prototype, my third child was born. By 2,627, my wife and I were really counting our pennies. By 3,727, my wife was giving art lessons for some extra cash.”

These, he said, were tough times. But each failure brought him closer to solving the problem.

It’s easy to extract the lesson, If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. But the ability to overcome failure and find another way is what separates those who make a difference from those who are left to wonder what might have been.

Great entrepreneurs neither fear nor accept failure. They understand that there will be setbacks in the course of developing new products and services — especially when working on something that’s never been done before. Things aren’t always going to go exactly as planned.

Anyone can come up with a great idea. Success comes to those who have the discipline, focus and resolve to do whatever it takes to achieve their goal. Even after Dyson, in 1993, had a market-ready product, he wrote in 2011 that the company had since made 35 iterations, improving each along the way. As Dyson put it, “It wasn’t the final prototype that made the struggle worth it. The process bore the fruit. I just kept at it.”

Life is full of challenges and victories, but most of all, it’s full of opportunity. You can achieve whatever it is you want, so long as you are willing to put in the effort and overcome those moments of failure. You overcame challenges to get to where you are today. You can do it again. ●

Fred Koury is President and CEO of Smart Business Network Inc.

Fred Koury

President and CEO
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