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Viewing failure positively – the key to economic growth?

The rich must be reading all those books about the power of positive thinking. According to a new study, the majority of wealthy people reckon viewing failure positively is essential for economic growth.

The rich must be reading all those books about the power of positive thinking. According to a new study, the majority of wealthy people reckon viewing failure positively is essential for economic growth.

Three-quarters of the 2,000 respondents for a Barclays Wealth study said embracing failure was important for an economy to grow. Interestingly, an average 83% of respondents in the Middle East and Asia believed in accepting failure and moving on. But the figures dropped to around 70% in the US, the UK and Europe.

Richard Phelps, managing director at Barclays Wealth, said: “Traditionally, many regard Europe and North America as entrepreneurial hotbeds, but these findings support the widely held belief that we are seeing a global shift, with a fear of failure perhaps holding these ‘established’ economies back.”

The report, entitled If at First You Don’t Succeed…Mapping Global Attitudes to Adversity, found differences in how high net worth individuals perceived themselves. While an average 50% of those in fast-growing economies described themselves as entrepreneurs, only about 30% did so in the developed markets.

Overall, HNW individuals were found to be an optimistic bunch. More than half of those questioned believed past failure increased chances that a new venture would succeed.

In fact, more than three-quarters of respondents in emerging economies said if their business was failing, they would persist rather than exit from the company. Contrastingly, only 35% of the UK respondents would continue running their business.

The respondents, who were from 17 countries around the world, had a net worth of more than $1.5 million (€1.2 million) each.

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