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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

If You're Not Failing, You're Not Trying Hard Enough

Five minutes ago I was in the workroom, nipping and filing some wire to make stacker rings.  Some of my nips were at an angle so I proceeded to file them straight (perpendicular to the piece of wire).

And my mind, in its usual wandering fashion asked, "What if instead of filing the ends of the wire straight up and down, I filed them at an angle?  I'd still be able to solder them together so long as I had two flat surfaces."

And then the other part of my mind responded with, "Yeah, but it's probably not as cool as you think it'd be.  They would most likely just look like you messed up your solder join."

And then the first part gave the response I love: "Maybe, but you don't know until you try."

I love my workshop failures.  They say to me that I am trying.  I'm trying new things, I'm working outside the box, I'm not letting history dictate my work, and I'm eager to innovate.

Both my children played youth hockey and I recall one statement by a coach that really stuck with me.  He said, "If you're not falling down, you're not skating hard enough."  It was a simple and profound message.  If you never fail, you're most likely playing it safe, not pushing yourself hard enough, and "safe" doesn't become best.  "Safe" doesn't create new inventions.  "Safe" isn't a leader.

In my workroom I have drawers and drawers of failed experiments.  These are treasures.  While they're unusable, many were stepping stones to some new technique or some new design element that needed to be worked out, thought through, and practiced.

Without my drawers of failed attempts, I would have no progress.