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Embracing failure is key to success

Columnist Lydia Lim hits the nail on the head when she said that Singapore needs a "critical mass brave enough to take risks, driven to succeed in age of disruption" (Price of plenty: How past success slows present change; Dec 17).

However, her concern about the possible failure of the "hoped-for transformation" of the Singapore economy in the age of digital disruption is one shared by many, and may prove to be our weakest link.

An inability to embrace failure may be our Achilles heel in our efforts to surmount the challenges over the next 50 years.

It is somehow ironic that we seem to advocate the need to take risks in the age of disruption, but have not internalised the notion that failure is part of the process involving disruptions and taking risks.

We are enjoying the fruits of labour of our forefathers, who experienced countless failures but overcame them with determination and a never-say-die attitude.

However, we seem to have forgotten how our successes have come about.

Ms Lim is spot on in saying that past success has slowed present change.

We need a serious lesson on embracing failure before taking the leap of faith into the next 50 years.

Seah Yam Meng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 24, 2017, with the headline 'Embracing failure is key to success'. Print Edition | Subscribe