This segment from CBS Sunday Morning isn’t particularly groundbreaking or profound (and perhaps a bit hokey), but is a helpful reminder on the importance of failure. (Nevermind the failure to post anything new for two weeks.)
Duke University professor Henry Petroski has made a career studying design failures, which he says are far more interesting than successes.
“Successes teach us very little,” Petroski said.
Petroski’s talking about bridges, but it holds true for any creative endeavor.
Also cited are J.K. Rowling bottoming out before her later success, van Gogh who sold just one painting before his death, Michael Jordan not making his high school basketball team, and others. (You’ve heard of these, but like I said, it’s about the reminder.)
It also notes that the important part is also how you handle failure, citing Chipper Jones, who leads baseball with a .369 batting average, which is impressive but also means that he’s only getting a hit one in three times he has a chance:
“Well, most of the time it’s not [going your way] and that’s why you have to be able to accept failure,” Jones said. “[…] a lot of work […] here in the big league is how you accept failure.”
Which is another important reminder: the standout difference in “making it” has to do with bouncing back from failure.
And if nothing else, watch it for footage of the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in 1940. Such a beautiful (if terrifying) picture of cement and metal oscillating in the wind. Also linked from the Wikipedia article are a collection of still photographs (including the collapse) and links to newsreel footage from the Internet Archive.