Successful Failures

Many discoveries and breakthroughs are made by accident. The history of innovation is a long list of failures that eventually led to bigger successes. Accidental innovations and unplanned applications happen every day. Few of them ever amount to anything productive and useful. The inventors and companies that are able to capitalize on their “happy accidents” are those that are the most flexible and responsive to the unexpected opportunities before them.

Fear of failure is a huge killer of innovation and learning. If we are going to continue growing and developing, we have got to embrace the idea of trying something and failing. That will take us much further than doing nothing and succeeding. Life doesn’t come with any guarantees. Nothing is certain. There is no such thing as a sure thing. By taking few chances and not trying something new we will reduce our risk of failure. We will also reduce our chances of success.

Highly effective people go against the odds — or just ignore them. This is a characteristic called “intelligent ignorance.” Research…is nothing but a state of mind — a friendly, welcoming attitude toward change; going out to look for change instead of waiting for it to come. Research, for practical people, is an effort to do things better …the research state of mind can apply to anything — personal affairs or any kind of business, big or little.

We need to be insatiable learners on a steep continuous personal growth curve. We must have a good balance of active and reflective learning. Active learning comes from exploring, searching, creating, and experimenting. Reflective learning comes from taking time out of daily operational pressures to review how well our personal, team, and organization improvement activities are working and to plan further changes.

He who never made a mistake never made a discovery.

Summing-up: “To double your success rate, double your failure rate.” – Tom Watson, Sr., founder of IBM

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