This Week’s Focus: Our hunger for success can blind us to the benefits of facing up to genuine failure. Bernie Madoff has said that he began his Ponzi scheme when his legitimate investments failed to make the required return. He preferred to commit the world’s biggest ever fraud than accept that he’d failed.

But we all fail, and successful people fail the most; it’s an inevitable side effect of sincere effort. The important thing is to learn – to find out honestly what went wrong  and why – and to determine how you will do better going forward. Ironically, the biggest failure is to deny the truth, to deceive both others and yourself, and to avoid improvement.

What have you learnt from your biggest failures?

Off The Record: From “I Want You” by Elvis Costello

The truth can’t hurt you, it’s just like the dark,
It scares you witless, but in time you see things clear and stark.

(c) Stuart Cross 2011. All rights reserved.