Renowned Korean American serial entrepreneur John Suh said children must be allowed to fail in order to succeed, as he addressed parents in Seoul in the second installment of a thought leadership series inspired by TED Talks.
The series, dubbed Dulwich Talks after its host pre-K-12 international school Dulwich College Seoul (DCSL), aims to help parents support their children as they navigate a rapidly changing world and face challenges. challenges such as the climate crisis, social changes, and the technological advances of the fourth industrial revolution.
Thought Leaders are invited to share their experiences, knowledge and tools to inspire parents as they help future generations of children pave the way to discovering their passion and purpose. Speakers are carefully selected from a variety of areas of expertise, including arts, architecture, entertainment, IT, sustainability, human rights and entrepreneurship, to name a few. .
Former LegalZoom CEO Suh spoke to parents on March 3, drawing lessons from his 25 years in various leadership roles, during which he raised more than $1.5 billion in capital and helped create more than two million small businesses. The prominent tech investor currently sits on various corporate boards, is an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at Sookmyung Women’s University, and is working on several new business ventures.
“You can’t be a successful entrepreneur if you’re a perfectionist because you have to allow yourself to fail and develop courage,” Suh told parents during his presentation titled “Fostering Future Entrepreneurs and Risk-Takers “. Talking about the importance of grit as a prerequisite for entrepreneurs, he said people are often seen as stupid when they try something seven times despite continuous failures. “But if they make it on the eighth try and make it a billion dollar business, they suddenly become a genius.”
Suh added that it’s a different definition of failure. “Let children figure things out and take responsibility for their own actions. If they think like everyone else, they won’t be able to solve problems.
However, this does not mean taking “naked risks”. Suh adds that entrepreneurs aren’t the frivolous risk takers people often think they are. “They manage the risks. They agree with the likelihood of failure because every failure is a learning opportunity. Redefining failure and learning experiences are the basis of entrepreneurship.
Suh said immigrants of Korean descent have the second highest propensity to own a small business in the United States after immigrants of Iranian descent, according to a 2012 study by the Partnership for a New American Economy. Korea was the only Asian country with Vietnam in the top 10, which included Brazil, Italy, Poland, Germany, Colombia and Cuba, among others.
The inaugural speaker for Dulwich Talks was award-winning US-based author and Founder/CEO of InnovatorsBox, Monica Kang. Underscoring the Thought Leadership Platform’s goal of hearing speakers with unique insights into the global issues that affect us, Kang is both a former nuclear weapons security expert and an internationally renowned speaker and coach on creativity in the workplace with clients such as Google, Dell and IBM. Her speech highlighted the importance of instilling a creative mindset in children, as she told parents that “innovation is the key to everything”.
Similar to TED Talks, Dulwich Talks seeks to reach a wider audience online and recordings are available on the school’s YouTube channel (John Suh’s talk will be posted soon). The lecture series is one of many initiatives DSCL is undertaking to help parents support their children as they grow into global citizens with a positive impact in the world.
“The Dulwich Talks aim to inspire parents and the wider community through thought leadership to ask tough questions, foster rich discussion, and learn through shared experiences about the global issues we face today. They are designed to engage parents in issues facing our students and the world,” said Gudmundur Hegner Jonsson, head of the college. “Academic excellence, sustainability and community are three values we hold dear, and we always strive to ensure that our learning environment evolves to meet global challenges.”