What Failing Taught Me

What failing at school taught me about being an entrepreneur?


I was a total nightmare at school – academically speaking. I left school with 3 0′ levels (for those from other education systems that means I failed 5 out of 8 subjects I studied for more than ten years).

“Could do better” was on every report – but I needed to know how to BE better. I was intelligent enough (I later got a distinction in my Masters’ degree).


So why did I struggle so much?

  • I had no concept of what mindset was
  • I had no sense of purpose
  • I was not interested in the subjects and had no vision for my future
  • I did not know how to ask for help – I just thought that I had to get through it alone
  • I had limited self-awareness and hated feedback
  • I thought it was okay to struggle
  • I did not know there were other ways to be
  • I did not focus on my strengths
  • I learn through experience, not through theory
  • There was no opportunity to try and fail at school
  • I had very low resilience
  • I had low competence, low confidence, and wasn’t very committed 
  • I did not bounce back from mistakes
  • I had no self-agency
  • I was not empowered to make good choices for myself (or I did not empower myself)
  • I compared myself to others and felt daunted by their success


I wish I knew what I know now when I was younger.

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I have learnt to recognise opportunities to step beyond my comfort zone in the pursuit of things that bring me true fulfilment – it was a small tweak that has ended up making a significant difference. We now speak on a regular basis and Simon has become the voice which says “you can do this”.

Keith Banwaitt