By Dustin Paisley

There's this notion in education that failure is bad. Students are given strict guidelines and course outlines to be followed in order to ensure they can obtain a good grade. The challenge in this is that once students graduate, those outlines and guidelines go away. I've seen first hand what happens in a course when structure is minimal, and there is no set path to your end result - it's chaotic - students literally don't know what to do. Not only does this limit students ability to be creative, it discourages students from trying new things. When we are evaluated on our output, we're less likely to go outside the box and open ourselves up to failure. The problem with this is that true learning does not come from following an outline and structure, but from venturing into the unknown, going off course, and, more importantly, from failing.

After finishing up the Launchpad Accelerator Course at MRU, I had a chance to do something that rarely happens in class - present on what you learned based on what you did. Every week you had to talk about the action you took, and whether or not that action was a success or failure. If you failed, why did you fail, what did you learn, and what are you going to do differently. Through this course, students are taught that failure is good - it's a learning experience that will enable and better equip you for the future. I once heard a good friend of mine, Derek Rucki, say that as an entrepreneur, you wear a tool belt. Each and every time you fail, you get to add a tool to that tool belt that you can use at a later date when you encounter similar issues - these failures, or tools, are what better equip you to be successful in the future.

If we use the tool belt as an example, successful entrepreneurs have some of the largest tool belts around. When James Dyson was on a mission to create the world's best vacuum, he went through a reported 5,127 prototypes before nailing the perfect one - that's a lot of tools. I'm not sure about you, but if two plumbers showed up at my door, I'd pick the one with the better tools.

When a student finishes their degree, how many failures, or tools do you expect them to have in their belt? Since education discourages failure, it's probably less than it should be.

This is why entrepreneurship classes have been so refreshing and valuable for me. They become a safe place where failure is not only taught, but encouraged. Students are given the opportunity to learn by doing, by failing, and ultimately, begin building up their tool belt. It's this experience in failing, and in learning that is essential for students. This is why I strongly encourage any and every student to try an entrepreneurship class. Learn the true value in failure, and become more comfortable with it.