Knowing your failures

Dear Boys,

You will become aware and learn about this great man Thomas Edison. He is the person who ‘invented’ the light bulb (although the details to that remained arguable) (

More importantly, I want to bring to your attention, the number of times he attempted before he was successful in his invention. He was famously reported to have ‘failed’ 1,000 times. Of course we can did the truth and historical about that; that wasn’t my point. I’m not going to blog into a ‘success story’ thing. You boys are going to get a lot of that on your way growing up.

What is more important is Mr Edison’s ATTENTION TO DETAIL. Let’s be frank about it, how many people can go around with a record of 1,000 attempts? The point is, Mr Edison, makes an accurate records of his attempts failures, tries and tribunals. He is clear, lucid and very specific about his work. In his try, trying, and tried, he never lost sight of where he is going and where he will end up.

How many of us, document our failures? We all want to document our success! Failures, attempts and tribunals are like the dark, little ugly siblings we don’t want people to see, much less document them, and talk about it. But Mr Edison, uses that as his source of motivation. He documents them, counts them. (I’m very sure he did, otherwise how he is famous for the 1,000 failures? why not 2,000? 2,314?)

He counts them, because every mistakes counts, and contributes to his success. We all need to count our misses as much as we count our hits. perhaps more so! Because most of our lives will be filled with misses, not hits. How we get our hits, will depends on our attitude when we miss.

And we need to remember how we miss, so that we find a new way to get the hit. I don’t think Mr Edison will subscribe to the mantra ‘don’t make the same mistake twice’, because simply, no 2 mistakes are the same, they may look the same, but they are not, and Mr Edison, knows that, and makes that differences. At any given space and time, nothing stays the same and happens the again at the same spot and circumstances.

I’m also quite sure, that Mr Edison, analyse his mistakes and argues that they are not the same! And even if the mistakes looks apparently ‘similar’, his learning from the first mistake will implanted him with an experience that will change the way he looked at the second mistake. and  he builds on that, the third, the fourth, and so on.

He also knows when he has succeeded. The final product of a light bulb, could, of course, be improved, could be another mistake, he could have gotten so addicted to counting he mistakes, he failed (pun intended) to see his success when it comes knocking on his door. He didn’t

He know very clearly his Eureka moment, that ‘A-ha!’ and ‘I got it!’ and stops his count. At 1,000. Well, perhaps, it was 1,300. perhaps it was 1,050. The media gloss over the details, but the we get the drift, I hope you boys gets the drift too. Knowing our failures will be the single most important fulcrum in our ascend to success. Our failures counts as much as our success, Mr Edison is a testament of that formula.



One thought on “Knowing your failures

  1. Great values you are giving to your sons! Loved your point – no two mistakes are the same. Hence, don’t be afraid of committing them. How true! Keep it up! 🙂

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