Thursday, November 24, 2011

discovering 1000 things that don't work

lethargy, due to fear of failure...
I just found this fabulous article on our fear of failure in Psychology Today. I don't know that all the facts are true, but it's a feel-good story anyway. My favorite lines include these:

"Whenever we attempt to do something and fail, we end up doing something else or producing something else. You have not failed; you have produced some other result. The two most important questions to ask are: "What have I learned?" and "What have I done?""

" In his early years, teachers told Edison he was "too stupid to learn anything." Work was no better, as he was fired from his first two jobs for not being productive enough. Even as an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. One day, an assistant asked him why he didn't give up. After all, he failed over a thousand times. Edison replied that he had not failed once. He had discovered over 1000 things that don't work."

And finally, "Luckily, [Michael] Jordan didn't let this setback stop him from playing the game and he has stated, "I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.""

When we change the way we view failure, it will eventually help us succeed. When someone rips apart my manuscript and points out every flaw, I want to shove it in a drawer and never write again. But several days (or sometimes months) later, I can pull it out again, and see how to improve it.

I haven't failed. I've become better, learned more, and pushed myself farther than I ever thought I could go. And I've discovered thousands of things that don't work along the way. That's a pretty great success!

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