Monday, January 30, 2012

How To Become Happier Part 5

Celebrate Failure

Have you heard the expression, "if a thing is worth doing, it's worth doing well"?

This expression means to do something right the first time around.  The problem is, how many of us could do that?  Do something right the first time it was tried?  I would say not very many.

Instead, change the expression to "if a thing is worth doing, it's worth doing badly... at first."  This would imply that you would eventually get it right, but you need to do things badly before you can get better.  Doing nothing at all - or burying your talent - will result in you losing it altogether.  You don't use it, you lose it.

I know this from countless hours of piano practicing, working on genealogy, working on web sites, anything I want to do.  I have to do it badly before I can do it well.

If you haven't read this book yet, you should.  It's called Outliers.

The book talks about those who are the exception to the rule, the geniuses in their respective fields.  One thing is in common with all of them:  they each spent a minimum of 10,000 hours working on that field.  This includes the computer programmers and musicians.  This seems to be the "Tipping Point" (to coin another book title by Malcolm Gladwell) that makes a person go from good to great.

The problem is, we focus so much on the accomplishments and achievements of great and talented people, we don't see the hours when the work of these people was not at it's finest.

Sometimes, however, you need to celebrate the failures, because you are on your way to greatness.


Edison failed over 10,000 times before succeeding in making an electrical light bulb.

Colonel Sanders' chicken recipe was rejected 1,009 times before it was accepted by a restaurant.

Walt Disney went broke several times before he became successful, and was fired from his first job at a newspaper because he lacked imagination as a cartoonist.

Think you've seen failure?  Check out the Snopes article on the truth of Abraham Lincoln.

So, the next question becomes, what will be the next failure for you to celebrate?  Me?  I have a few in mind...

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