Rethinking Failure

Tried anything recently that didn’t quite work out? Congratulations! You’re on your way to a breakthrough.

Bottom line, there is no innovation without “failure.” If your perception of failure is “something to avoid,” you can kiss innovation goodbye. Failure comes with the territory. If the word puts you in a foul mood, use another one — like “experiment,” for example.

* “The way to succeed is to double your failure rate.” — Thomas Watson, Founder of IBM
* “Do not fear mistakes. There are none.” — Miles Davis
* “99 percent of success is built on failure.” — Charles Kettering
* “I have not failed once. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that didn’t work.” — Thomas Edison
* “An inventor fails 999 times, and if he succeeds once, he’s in. He treats his failures simply as practice shots.” — Charles Kettering
* “Give me the young man who has brains enough to make a fool of himself.” — Robert Louis Stevenson
* “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” — Robert F. Kennedy
* “Adversity reveals genius, prosperity conceals it.” — Horace
* “When we can begin to take our failures non-seriously, it means we are ceasing to be afraid of them. It is of immense importance to laugh at ourselves.” — Katherine Mansfield


by Mitch Ditkoff

Rethinking FailureTried anything recently that didn’t quite work out? Congratulations! You’re on your way to a breakthrough.

Bottom line, there is no innovation without “failure.” If your perception of failure is “something to avoid,” you can kiss innovation goodbye. Failure comes with the territory. If the word puts you in a foul mood, use another one — like “experiment,” for example.

  • “The way to succeed is to double your failure rate.” — Thomas Watson, Founder of IBM
  • “Do not fear mistakes. There are none.” — Miles Davis
  • “99 percent of success is built on failure.” — Charles Kettering
  • “I have not failed once. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that didn’t work.” — Thomas Edison
  • “An inventor fails 999 times, and if he succeeds once, he’s in. He treats his failures simply as practice shots.” — Charles Kettering
  • “Give me the young man who has brains enough to make a fool of himself.” — Robert Louis Stevenson
  • “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” — Robert F. Kennedy
  • “Adversity reveals genius, prosperity conceals it.” — Horace
  • “When we can begin to take our failures non-seriously, it means we are ceasing to be afraid of them. It is of immense importance to laugh at ourselves.” — Katherine Mansfield Leer más “Rethinking Failure”

President Truman vs. MacArthur: President Obama vs. McChrystal?

Reading about General McChrystal’s lack of political smarts, I could not but think of the dustup between Truman and MacArthur. The issues were largely different, but in one sense, identical. In 1950–’51, the Korean war, though boldly begun, had degenerated into a bloody stalemate. General MacArthur wanted to carry the war to China, and made his passionate recommendations very public, against the stated policy of the President. MacArthur was the leading military figure of the nation. As Walter Karp has written…


Reading about General McChrystal’s lack of political smarts, I could not but think of the dustup between Truman and MacArthur. The issues were largely different, but in one sense, identical.  In 1950–’51, the Korean war, though boldly begun, had degenerated into a bloody stalemate.  General MacArthur wanted to carry the war to China, and made his passionate recommendations very public, against the stated policy of the President.  MacArthur was the leading military figure of the nation.  As Walter Karp has written… Leer más “President Truman vs. MacArthur: President Obama vs. McChrystal?”