What McDonalds Can Teach Us About Failure

Have you ever heard of McDonald’s Hula Burger?

Me neither.

Apparently in 1962, McDonald’s created a meatless sandwich made to appeal to the chain’s Lent-observing customers.  The meat was replaced by a slice of grilled pineapple topped with melted cheese.

Why haven’t you ever heard of such a sandwich, you ask?

Because the Hula Burger did not sit well with the general public. Probably literally and figuratively.  People did not like the sandwich and McDonald’s quickly removed it from their menu.

What is your Hula Burger? What have you tried and failed? Or even worse, what have you been too afraid to try because you were so scared you would fail?

Throughout my life, I have not been much of a risk taker.  I’ve talked myself out of trying dozens of things because I was too afraid I would fail.  Sometimes I try to disguise the fear of failure by giving it names like contentment or apathetic, when deep down I know that it is really just me talking myself out of trying something new.

The one thing that is worse than failing is not even trying.  At least if we fail, we can learn from our mistake and apply it to our next step in life.

I am not a person who believes that we have to fail to learn something new.  I would much rather learn from succeeding.  But if we do fail, we can numb the pain of disappointment by learning how to do better the next time.

McDonald’s failed with the Hula Burger, but they got over it quickly.  Another sandwich that was launched by the Golden Arches to try and combat Catholic fast food junkies during Lent was the Fillet-O-Fish.  Unlike its meatless companion Hula, Fillet-O-Fish was a major success and has made McDonald’s millions of dollars.

Would McDonald’s have created the Fillet-O-Fish if they had not tried and failed with the Hula Burger?  Maybe.  But I bet the Hula Burger debacle helped fuel them to succeed.  They learned from their failure and were not afraid to fail again.

Here is a great story about the biggest failed products of major brands.

These are some of the biggest brands in the world.  They are not afraid of failure, so why should we be?

Do you know how these brands became so successful? Because they failed.  If they were too afraid to fail, they never would have achieved so much success.

So I ask again, what will be your Hula Burger? Will it help you find your Fillet-O-Fish?  You will never know unless you try.