Success Circuit

Did I Fail?

Today I recieved my results for my first Maths AS exam. I have been struggling a lot with the Maths and therefore revised a lot before the exam. I got the worse you can possibly get, a U.

Now, in answer to my question… most people would say YES. Yes, I did terrible, but did I fail?

When I started Maths, our teacher asked the class how we learn. When it got to me, I said “By making as many mistakes as possible”. I did not let him down, I make a lot of mistakes EVERY lesson! But each time I make the mistake, if I am able to work out where I went wrong… well, next time I am unlikely to repeat the mistake.

I have the option to resit this exam. Next time hopefully I will do better. But the only reason I will do better is because I will see where I went wrong this time and try to correct myself next time.

So is it really a fail? Surely, in theory, by getting so low this time I will learn where I went wrong and do better next time than if I had passed this time?

No… I made mistakes, but mistakes can be avoided next time. So no, I did not fail, I just took longer to get the result than it should have taken. But just because something takes longer than it should does not mean it is a bad thing. Remember the hare and the tortoise?

Have you made many mistakes in the past? I am sure you did, if not… well, the time will come! Hopefully you learned from your mistakes and avoided any repetition.

As Paul Sabaj said in yesterday’s post, journals/notebooks are REALLY important! Make a record of your mistakes, review them often and avoid them in the future.

Now I am going to take a look at people who have openly admitted their mistakes and have shared what their mistakes have taught them!

  1. Sir Richard Branson

    If you have ever read any of Sir Richard’s books (which I highly recommend) then you will know what I am talking about. In 1971 (when he was a mere 19 years old) Sir Richard made the biggest mistake of his life. In fact, it was brought up by Liberal Democrat MP Vince Cable in the House of Commons during Virgin’s bid for Northern Rock (a British bank).

    This extract from will explain Sir Richard’s mistake and the lessons it taught him.

    When I was 19 and running our record mail order service I stumbled on the fact that records bought in Great Britain intended for export were not subject to purchase tax. I bought the records I needed, pretended they were for export, and then sold them to British customers. I was caught red-handed by HM Customs & Excise and put in a cell overnight. Naturally I agreed to pay back everything and the fines imposed and avoided a criminal record. It nearly killed off my entrepreneurial dreams; thankfully it didn’t. But it did teach me a hard lesson about never doing anything illegal or unethical again.

  2. Adam Lowry and Eric Ryan

    These are a couple of entrepreneurs that I did not learn about until researching today for this post but plan to research more about… they seem to be doing very well!

    Rather than just rewriting what I have read already, here is what USA Today wrote about them.

    In 2000, two roommates had a brainstorm: eco-friendly cleaning products. They whipped up some samples in their bathtub and handed them out to friends. Method was born. The company in 2008 reached $100 million in sales and is sold in retail outlets such as Target.

    Money mistake. “As an entrepreneur, you just feel a desire to just grow, grow, grow and show top-line (increases),” Ryan says. “Sometimes it leads you astray.”

    After the founders expanded their brand into the car-cleaning marketplace with a product called Vroom, they realized they moved a bit too fast.

    “We ultimately ended up selling the line (to another company), but it was a big distraction from our business at the time,” Ryan says. “There are times that you need to preserve fuel and be careful about how many growth opportunities you pursue, because you burn capital.”

    Savvy move. “Hiring a CEO as our first employee was one of the best money moves we made,” Lowry says.

    The more-experienced Alastair Dorward helped the founders make better management and financial decisions. Dorward had the acumen “to grow smart rather than just grow fast,” Lowry says.

  3. Shane Hudson

    Now it is time for a couple of my own mistakes. My problem is that I trust far too easily! An example of this would be the sale behind Lonely Designs. If you have not read it already then it may be a post that will interest you. Here is an extract from it:

    Now I need to let you know an important fact. I had been using NamePros since august of the year before and I had got a “friend” to join it. He was loving it there and making a lot of money but did not have paypal, so he asked me if I could transfer some money he had earned from paypal to namepros (NP dollars). Of course I thought nothing wrong with this. The amount of money that I transferred was $150. Remember that!
    As you probably guessed, the end was not far away. I needed money and the site was going nowhere, I needed to sell. I decided to sell it on NamePros Live Auction, and it sold for $155. This was no where near what I was hoping for, but I sold anyway. They sent me the $155 and paypal took $150 of it!! After investigating I found out that the “friend” I helped had actually scammed the money! I was not happy at all with them taking the money and I tried to find him, but he had disappeared . So I let them take the money as there was nothing I could do, and I felt sorry for them as I do not like scammers. But this left me with $5, not even enough to cover the logo! I lost a lot of money from this but it was worth it, as I learned so many things from it. Including how to blog properly!

As you can see, failure can often lead to success. So, you never know, by needing to resit my maths exam I may learn a lot more about maths which will help in the future (I plan to do a Computer Science with Artificial Intelligence degree, so maths is rather useful)!

If you would like to submit your own story or that of somebody else, please comment here or email Shane [at] Shane Hudson [dot] net with the title of “Story for Did I Fail Post”.


  1. My favourite analogy about mistakes comes from John Cleese. He describes a Guided Missile as initially heading in a general direction. The missile is frequently required to make changes to it's directions. It keeps making mistakes and correcting them until it finds it's target. You NEED to make mistakes if you are on an untravelled path. Great article Shane.

    TheGraphicPost -

  2. Shane

    A great post and very enlightening to hear you are accepting so called failure, as a learning experience. well done for that.

    You have chosen a high profile entrepreneur in Sir Richard Branson but he's a shining example to all others, who aspire to follow him. He probably has many other learning experiences he could share with you.

    Thank you for sharing this.



    Paul -

    • I saw many people upset (some even getting much better results than myself) but I thought “Why bother being upset? We can resit, and even if we couldn't then we would just have to use the experience to improve ourselves for the future.”

      Sir Richard is an amazing person, not just because he reached the height of his life that he has done, but because he is honest. Many people would try to hide the fact that he was trying to beat the system, he however announced publicly through his book that he has learned from his mistakes and I am sure he has made more than one!

      ShaneHudson -

      • Exactly. Like Robby Gordon's song, No Regrets, it's important that we don't dwell on past disappointments but take lessons from them to better our future.

        Till then,


        used tires -

  3. Brother take action now, education doesn't mean anything, seriously it doesn't. I know people who went to uni and got all sorts of degrees in god knows what ever, are they more successful than me….? Yep you guessed it, no not one bit.

    Brother you need to take action now, You have a great foundation and you could be huge I mean seriously huge, but only you can do that.

    Step up Shane and carve your own future

    TheInfoPreneur -

    • I am not waiting until I get my degree to do something with myself. But I am still going for the degree (in fact, I plan to achieve my phd). I am all about learning and I am willing to take any and every route to learning as much as I possibly can!

      ShaneHudson -

  4. Great post Shane.
    It is good to learn from our mistakes. However we don't want to learn so that we can repeat them exactly!
    Some people think that simply trying the same thing over and over again will eventually make it work. When we make a mistake be honest and look back at see what really went wrong and then we will learn. It is not the failure itself but the reason why we failed is what we need to understand.

    Roland -

  5. Learning is some times hard and failure leaves a bad taste but thats how you get ahead. The big thing that you did was get back up again and not let it hold you back. Thomas Edison went broke a few times and so did Hentry Ford. Look where they went. The ability to remain positive and keep at it is what truly seperates success from failure. Keep at it my young brother in entrepreneurship and will both be at the top with the rest of the cats that read these posts. Have a great week all

    Paul Sabaj -

  6. Hi Shane I'm sorry to hear of your exam results. To pick up on James' comment education is important. You need to learn about everything that can help you move forward with your goals. Although formal education may be less important to you. Quite often formal education is just a foot in the door.

    matthewneedham -

  7. No doubt you didn't fail, in this way you gained the second time or may be third. The only loss is that of time. Isn't it. I have heard a better advice:-“Learn from other's faults”.

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  8. You most definitely didn't fail. Success sometimes comes from experience and what is experience but a culmination of past failures more or less?

    Till then,


    used tires -

  9. When you make a mistake, don't look back at it long. Take the reason of the thing into your mind and then look forward. Mistakes are lessons of wisdom. The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power.

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  10. Learning to ask the “Hard” questions truly brings some soul-searching, but often it gets outcomes that benefit you the most. In doing research for my blog, “Teaming Up For Success” I've found that lot of organizations are asking themselves the same questions you listed, and once the answers are found, they find ways to correct discrepncies, inefficiencies and provide better services.

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  11. I try the best I can but I am a really bad test taker. This morning we were in the school computer lab and I was finishing a paper for my history class and he kept on rushing me and asking me why I didn't do it last night…he didn't even start his paper and he is failing history.

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  12. How did I fail to Yield?

    By turning left when the way was not clear to complete your left turn, thereby causing an accident. You never turn without yielding to any oncoming traffic first when there is no protected left turn. Did you sleep through drivers education classes?

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