Jose Thomas began his entrepreneurship at the young age of 17. Born in Cochin, India as the 10th child of O. C. Thomas, partner of Choice Canning Company, he entered the family seafood business on the demise of his father... Read More...



PA To Jose Thomas


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What motivates you to get up and work in the morning? This is an important question we must all have a clear answer to. For me, it is the fear of failing. Let me tell you why this is one of the most powerful motivators. Fear of failure will push you to keep moving the mile-marker of success, it will force you to think out of the box and be fiercely protective of what you build for yourself.

 Whatever I do, I sit with the fear of “Will I lose what I have built?”. One must have this level of attachment to their achievements and standing in society. It keeps you alert throughout the process of wealth building. This fear of failing should not be contained to just losing one’s assets, but also reputation. The more we grow, the more imperative it becomes to stay vigilant of one’s character and play by the rules. 

 I often come across people who have an abundance of wealth and lead a luxurious lifestyle - complete with indulgences like private jets and more. But, I have also seen them fail and lose it all one fine morning, because they have not followed the rules of the game. Perhaps because their fear of failing was not strong enough to motivate them to walk the straight and narrow path.  

 I think about the tycoons who have been forced to flee the country. What must be going through their minds? They must have gone beyond the fear of failing and now be wrestling with the larger fear of their mind and emotions collapsing in the wake of their fallen empires and reputation.

 One brand that often comes to mind is Kingfisher. I have always identified the Kingfisher brand with India. Even when I travel to Japan and see Kingfisher beer, I immediately relate it back to India - as I’m sure many others do also. The success of this brand is rooted in the solid foundation set by Vittal Mallya for United Breweries. He built a dream, lived a life and handed the keys of the kingdom to the next generation. Vijay Mallya tended to it tactfully and United Breweries continued to blossom. 

 I am sure Vijay Mallya was intent on protecting, nurturing and elevating the brand to the next level. Perhaps somewhere along the way he lost the fear of failing, and allowed recklessness to creep into his operations. This is probably when the wheels started to come off and result in the collapse of Kingfisher and Vijay Mallya too. Can you all imagine the fear he must have felt when it began to dawn on him that he was failing? 

 One has to protect what they have earned and created with relentless passion. There is no substitute for precaution and timely intervention. One must fear failure enough to take frequent action to ensure necessary measures are in place to stay out of troubled waters, or at least stay afloat in it. Who ever thought the Lehman Brothers will fall? Who could ever guess the 2008 financial crisis in America will lead to the collapse of the financial market world over? If one is kept alert by the fear of failing, one would be driven to regularly assess risks and have contingency plans in place to prevent a fall.


This applies to the employed too. Not just entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs. The fear of failure will help you plan your next move with due diligence and keep you from taking decisions that can negatively impact your career.


Fear of failing can help prevent many impulsive and ill-evaluated decisions. Sometimes, I jump out of bed and feel like Churchill fighting the battle of Gallipoli. Much like a new mother constantly waking up through the night to check on her sleeping child, you too will become protective of what you have created and are creating if you have the fear to fail. It forces you to become a responsible individual with long term goals to keep the things steady. 


Once you have tasted success, the goal should be to hold on to it and savour it. Don’t be reckless with it. Play by the rules, keep your head in the game and do everything you can to implement timely interventions that ensure the health and longevity of a business - irrespective of how big or small it may be. The fear of failing is a good kind of fear. Embrace it, and let it be the reason to wake up and work hard each day. This is how you find success, and keep it too.