Perhaps the best example of the use of failure as a feedback mechanism can be found in the story of Thomas Edison who, as you know, invented the first practical electric lamp.
But, in the process, the amount of apparent failure that Edison had to endure before he finally found success was absolutely astonishing. He conducted thousands of unsuccessful experiments at his laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey, before he found exactly the right filament.
After we had conducted thousands of experiments on a certain project without solving the problem, one of my associates, after we had conducted the crowning experiment and it had proved a failure, expressed discouragement and disgust over our having failed to find out anything. I cheerily assured him that we had learned something. For we had learned for a certainty that the thing couldn’t be done that way, and that we would have to try some other way. – January 1921 issue of American Magazine.
It is understandable and quite natural to become downhearted, discouraged and even, as Edison’s associate had been, disgusted, following failure. On occasions, you might even feel like giving up. But you have to accept that your journey to success is inevitably going to pass through this territory at some stage and it is what you do, when you are in that place, that determines whether or not you will finally succeed.
Taken from The 7 Keys to Success
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