Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Curious

In war it is axiomatic that the victors of the last war fight the new one with the tactics of the old. Having won, the victor is content with what won for him, but the vanquished wants to know why he lost. ~Robert Leckie

We have a tendency to rely on what is familiar and what has worked for us in the past. We find this in business as well as our personal lives. This works in some situations, but find more and more frequently that when we rest on what has worked, we miss out on greater outcomes from what will work.

There are a lot of reasons not to try new things, Seth Godin captured a few a these a couple years ago, here. For many it is about a fear of failure, which when you try new things, is a very distinct possibility. Failure is seen as a destination, which makes it avoidable. It isn't. Keep doing what you have always done and you will arrive there, eventually. Success keeps us complacent, maybe until it is too late.

Failure happens. What you do with it makes all the difference in where you go from here. Innovation, on the other hand, happens when curiosity overcomes the fear of the unknown and our present success. Just like George, it will get us into trouble from time to time, but will cause us to learn so much.

The most important thing in life is not to capitalize on our gains. Any fool can do that. The really important thing is to profit from your losses. That requires intelligence; and makes the difference between a man of sense and a fool. ~William Bolitho

10 comments:

Daniel said...

Just as every success opens new doors and new possibilities, so does every failure. At least that's what i have read. I will let you know if this is true after I have a success or two (dang it).

Rob said...

It just stinks to fail. I know it does produce success, but I hate it when I fail.

Alicia said...

I read a quote once: "Success is the art of failure turned inside out." And how true that is. I feel like failure isn't necessarily in regards to success in my life, however. Not sure how to explain that one. But sometimes I fear failing not because i will not result in success but because of comfortability. We all want things to be happy, comfortable, and feel good. Emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally... Either way it is a battle we will always undoubtedly face. Seems as though in the midst of us we throw fits and tantrums (at least in my life). Afterwards the results are so grand though! God really does have a spectacular way of turning things inside out and upside down :) If only we could learn to realize this in the midst of the lives we live. When we struggle. When we're in pain...

subtorp77 said...

You're spot on here, Brian. But so often do we fail to acknowledge the how and why, of that success. It is this that can lead to future failure.

jake (to the) holla said...

how true it is... i've learned/grown so much more due to my failures and missteps.. than from any of my accomplishments. especially the great dont-jump-off-moving-cars-or-you'll-break-something fiasco of '07

Cinnamon said...

Very thought-provoking. Fear of failure is a prison and can be paralysing. I think that regarding relationships, failure really knocks your confidence. It is easier to build a little wall or shield to take away the risk of further failure. Trouble is, then you don't live life to the full.

Brian Miller said...

It seems finding the "learning" in failure is hard to do when you find yourself in the midst of it, emotions running high and disappointment. If we push through, and do not "give up", but look for the keys to future success it enables us to capture them.

subtorp...great thought there...if we don't know the how and why we can not replicate it.

Daniel...lol.

cinnamon...good thoughts on confidence...in relationships in particular because of the emotional attachment and giving away of small pieces of ourselves only to see them trampled or damaged. hmm...

serfer said...

I didn't know you were a Seth Godin fan.

Kris said...

Failure is a part of life, one of the most frustrating things when I was teaching at university was that most people see failure as a final, rather than a simple step along the way.

Brian Miller said...

so true kris!

I picked up on godin along the way. have only read one of his books but have read quite a bit on his blog.