TITLE: Failure with a Purpose AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: January 31, 2015 11:51 AM DESC: ----- BODY: I am committed to being wrong bigger and more often in 2015. Yet I am mindful of Avdi Grimm's admonition:
... failure isn't always that informative. You can learn a thousand different ways to fail and never learn a single way to succeed.
To fail for failure's sake is foolish and wasteful. In writing, the awful stuff you write when you start isn't usually valuable in itself, but rather for what we learn from studying and practicing. In science, failing isn't usually valuable in itself, but rather for what you learn when you prove an idea wrong. The scientist's mindset has a built-in correction for dealing with failure: every surprising result prompts a new attempt to understand why and build a better model. As Grimm says, be sure you know what purpose your failure will serve. Sometimes, taking bigger risks intellectually can help us get off a plateau in our thinking, or even a local maximum. The failure pays off when we pay attention to the outcome and find a better hill to climb. -----