In 2005, I worked with an old friend to develop a training program for our company. We wanted a program that had clear objectives and a consistent feel. He developed a framework for a series of one-hour sessions that would cover a wide variety of technical subjects, and he developed the first few sessions. One of the ways he helped us gain consistency was to have us always begin with a similar agenda, a set of expectations, a quote and a poem. I was so impressed with the poem, that I never changed it. We completed over 50 different training sessions, and each one included a slide that showed:
The road to wisdom? — Well, it’s plain
and simple to express:
and err again
Technically, this is a grook. It was written by Piet Hein (1905 – 1996), a Danish mathematician, scientist, inventor, and poet.
What I love most about this grook, is the acknowledgement of failure. So many people try to hide failure. Sometimes, they want to hide it out of embarrassment and sometimes they want to hide it out of fear. I don’t want to fail, but when I do, I want to learn from failure.
There of tons of quotes about failure. Almost all of them mirror the thoughts of that old adage we were taught as children. You know: “if at first you don’t…” Yeah, that one. I’m not going to list the quotes, but I thought I’d drop a few names. Here’s a short list of people who don’t/didn’t mind failing, because it means that they tried:
J. K. Rowling
I’ll leave you story of one of my failures. The stepstool shown at the right, wasn’t supposed to look like that. I made that little set of steps so our daughter could get her own cereal bowl from the upper cabinets when she was little girl. The walnut inlays accenting each step are actually the result of a mistake. I accidentally cut the dadoes for the steps on the wrong side of one of the stringers, so I cut both slots in both stringers, glued in the walnut inlays and called it a “design element”.