If at First You Dont Succeed Barclays study


A world of insight into cultural attitudes towards failure. That the Barclays Wealth and Investment Management “If at First You Don’t Succeed – Mapping Global Attitudes to Adversity”.

Perhap the most comprehensive study on cultural attitudes by country which is an area I have featured specifically for a while now, but usually profiling specific countries and reports about them. And the findings have a few surprises. Most notably the relatively lower tolerance by the USA which is usually held out as the paragon of embracing risk and appreciating failure. The ‘up and coming’ areas (Asia, Middle East) seem to demonstrate more ‘pick yourself up’ spirit at least in these survey questions.

Here is a Readers Digest version of the executive summary…

  • Tolerance of failure is essential for growth. The process of “creative destruction,” whereby old ideas, technologies and business models become obsolete as new, stronger entrants grab market share, is essential to economic progress and job creation.
  • Emerging entrepreneurs catch up. The most dynamic, fast-growing economies of the world have the highest tolerance for failure.
  • Entrepreneurs bounce back. Almost six out of ten wealthy individuals say that they have experienced some form of career failure, while a similar proportion have experienced setbacks with their investments.
  • Persistence matters. As well as helping them to bounce back from failures and try again, persistence also has broader psychological benefits.

The report is well presented and easy to read with lots of helpful graphics.


Barclays failure study


Persistence by country