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Good morning dear reader & welcome to my world for another week. In my last article I spoke on both balance & rhythm & the potential pipe dream, being something which is just not realistic or attainable for many people today. An issue appears to be one where we are being inundated with (the) social media & subsequent effects creating a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, cannot cope with the normal stresses of life.

In particular, I am referring in my world to the dreaded ‘APP’. It appears to me we are being overwhelmed with these things / creatures to the extent everyone is being encouraged more & more towards this electronic medium, even when said ‘APP’ has not even been proven, but more particularly when we are beginning to realise many of the social problems we face today are, the experts believe, created by these & other dreadful social mediums.

In research to support my thoughts on this matter, I came across a very interesting person called Beck Tench. She suggested there was an interesting shift in thinking which occurred whilst she was working at a science museum. During her time there, Beck said she learned how to treat failure like a scientist.

How does a scientist treat failure? And what can we learn from their approach? Here is what Beck implied. When a scientist runs an experiment, there are all sorts of results which can happen. Some results are positive & some are negative, but all of them are data points. Each result is a piece of data which can ultimately lead to an answer.

And this is exactly how a scientist treats failure: as another data point.

This is much different than how society often talks about failure. For most of us, failure feels like an indication of who we are as a person.

Failing a test means you are not smart enough. Failing to get fit means you are undesirable. Failing in business means you do not have what it takes. Failing at art means you are not creative. And so on.

But for the scientist, a negative result is not an indication they are a bad scientist. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Proving a hypothesis wrong is often just as useful as proving it right because you learned something along the way.

Your failures are simply data points to assist & lead you to the right answer.

Failure is the Cost You Pay to be Right  1

None of this is to say that you should seek to make mistakes or, failing is fun. Obviously, you will try to do things the right way. And failing on something important to you is never fun.

But failure will always be part of your growth for one simple reason…

If you are focused on building a new habit or learning a new skill or mastering a craft of any type, then you are basically experimenting in one way or another. And if you run enough experiments, then sometimes you are going to get a negative result.

It happens to every scientist & it will happen to you and me as well. To paraphrase Seth Godin: Failure is simply a cost you have to pay on the way to being right. Treat failure like a scientist. Your failures are not you. Your successes are not you. They are simply data points to help guide the next experiment.

The point I am about to get to my friends is this. If we keep on heading down the same road, making the same mistakes, regretfully being encouraged to do so without any proven data, where on earth are we headed. Ironically, this is the very road productivity is heading & no one appears to care, except me, are you with me on this one dear reader? Heading down the road to ‘just another failure…’ 

Thank you for taking the time to be with me once again. I hope my journey may encourage you also. This is Kenn Butler in Paradise, Nelson, with my best wishes for the weekend ahead. I look forward to being with you all again next week.


Kenn Butler
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