Thursday, January 7, 2010

Failing and Succeeding

I was brought up on a steady diet of “Don’t make mistakes,” “Don’t fail,” “Don’t do anything foolish.”

Seth Godin writes in his December 21st 2009 blog entry: “Painters, musicians, entrepreneurs, writers, chiropractors, accountants--we all fail far more than we succeed. We fail at closing a sale or playing a note. .… But we succeed far more often than people who have no ideas at all.”

A similar discussion between Mary and Lurt takes place in Humans, by Robert J. Sawyer, a story about discovering a parallel universe where Neanderthals are the “human” species. Mary, a human as we know it, falls in love with Ponter, a Neanderthal.

…when your life is ending, will you regret not having tried to make a relationship with Ponter work? .... Listen carefully to my question, friend Mare. I am not asking if you would regret not pursuing this relationship if it were to succeed. I am asking whether you would regret not pursuing it even if it fails.

Lurt goes on to tell about trying to become a fiction writer and failing at it.
But I do not regret having tried and failed at fiction writing. Of course, I would have preferred to succeed, but on my deathbed I knew I would be more sad if I had never tried, never have tested to see if I might succeed at it, than I would be had I tried and failed.

Changing my thinking about success and failure has been like trying to turn around a team of a dozen Clydesdales. I am beginning to ask myself the question, “How can I increase my probability of succeeding?” Slowly, I am finding that I am changing my everyday behaviors.

No comments: