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Charles Richard Drew’s suggestion to set up blood banks helped to save the lives of many soldiers during the Second World War. Getty Images
Charles Richard Drew’s suggestion to set up blood banks helped to save the lives of many soldiers during the Second World War. Getty Images

Be bold, for giving in to our fear must be the ultimate failure

Young entrepreneurs should have faith and not give in to their fears if they want to succeed. Not trying is the ultimate failure.

Upon embarking on research about entrepreneurs who changed our world simply because they refused to give in to fear any longer, I stumbled upon an interesting story about the American physician and blood transfusions researcher Charles Richard Drew.

Young Drew kept a medical research article that he had written in his desk drawer for a number of years. He feared that this article would cause a medical controversy that would adversely affect his future research.

And so he preferred to wait until he created a prominent status for himself in the medical sphere, and only then would he share and publish his article. However, a colleague of his who read his article encouraged him not to be afraid to publish it.

Although Drew was reluctant, physicians and scientists were amazed by his research, more than the young doctor would have ever expected.

His article, published in 1940, which discussed the importance of establishing large-scale blood banks, resulted in the spread of blood banks during the early part of the Second World War, and ultimately saved many Allied Forces lives.

In 1950, at the age of 45, and only a few years after his achievement, Drew died in a car accident.

After reading the story, I wondered what would have come of the research if he had died before publishing it. And then I thought about the numerous research papers, thoughts jotted down, and great ideas waiting to be implemented, which are buried in dusty desk drawers or at the back of our minds, because we fear something would happen as a result of sharing them, such as a controversy, debate, or a dear one telling us that it is not worth our precious time.

When it comes to the business world, young entrepreneurs should have faith and not give in to their fears if they want to succeed. It does not mean that we fail if our ideas are criticised or debated. But not trying is the ultimate failure.

Delicious food stored in the fridge for too long will inevitably rot, putting it to no use, even if for saving a life. A fetus would also be of danger to its mother if it stayed in her womb for more than nine months.

Drew, although intelligent and driven, was going to fall victim to poor planning if he were to fall sick or die before sharing his great idea with the world.

A story such as his, and those of many other great achievers out there, should serve to inspire and motivate us to bury the fear inside us, and not give in to the discouraging voices that demotivate us.

To illustrate, a good friend of mine has an inspiring book idea, which she has been talking about for years. Every time we walk into a bookstore, she would point at a shelf saying how her book would be there soon. And every time we meet, and I ask her whether she has started writing, she says that she is still working on it, and gathering more material.

A few weeks back, she told me that she had completely cancelled the idea after coming across a few new publications that shared a somehow similar context to hers. I tried to persuade her to give it a go regardless, but she's a firm believer in originality.

Now had she started on her book a few years ago, she would have been a pioneer, and probably an international best-seller. A good author, just like a football player, will not become good at what he/she does except after numerous trials and errors. The same concept applies to business people and young entrepreneurs.

The truth is, every business venture/idea will involve a certain degree of risk. That is a given. Every great entrepreneur and pioneer out there from Bill Gates to Thomas Edison stated that they had gone through trial and error before finalising their inventions/products.

It all boils down to this: we will never really know how our products and ideas will be received unless we give it a shot. The world always needs innovative ideas. Go ahead and share them.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati fashion designer and writer based in Abu Dhabi

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