Just a few hours after midnight on Friday my team and I submitted our analysis for an MBA case competition. Despite the fact that we managed to submit on time, there was no feeling of joy, instead the look of defeat. We knew were we stood. And although component of our analysis were superb, the overall work was mediocre. One of the team members had put more work than the rest and naturally he was disappointed, but all of us were disappointed. We had taken a great amount of risk by doing this case, we had put our lives, significant others, family, even other courses on hold. So as I was driving home I couldn’t get over my grief of failure. My lack of effort to own the project, set expectation, and maintain a timeline. I kept thinking why I continue to take on these ventures, which increase the probability of failure as opposed to sticking to status quo. I know what you’re thinking, the greater the challenge, the greater the reward. But the equation is misleading. I prefer, the greater the challenge, the greater the effort required, the greater the risk involved, then, the greater the reward. And it occurred to me, whenever you go beyond what is expected and this goes for anything in life, you’re making yourself vulnerable to greater failure. You’re taking on additional risk and if you don’t succeed, the downside is greater than the status quo. But, this answer wasn’t me, it’s not how was I raised, it’s not how I’ve lived my life. So, what’s the answer? Why take the additional risk and deal with the grief of failure. And the next morning it hit me. When you go beyond what is expected, when there is chance to fail, you’re essentially preparing yourself for success. You’re exposing yourself to greater experiences and if you can walkaway from every challenge with key takeaways, apply those lessons, two outcomes will take place. One, you’ll be better equipped for success in a similar situation. More importantly you’ll find yourself in more difficult situations, and the more difficult situations you can put yourself into, the more probable your chances of success.