I read somewhere that Thomas Edison’s teachers said he was too stupid to learn anything. I think about names like Gates and Disney, or writers like Stephen King or JK Rowling. I bring this up because if anyone were to search for the top most successful failures, these are some of the names that top the list. I say this here but yet, no one that recognizes these names would ever associate them with anything but success.
I think about the different versions of happiness and about the rules for the greater good. I think about the person who is working inside of a lab—or better yet, I think about the person whose feet are on the pavement at sunup and they won’t stop until long after the sun goes down. I think about the entrepreneurs and innovators and motivators. I think about the people who are always working and always looking for the next opportunity. Failure means nothing to them,
I think about the telemarketer who has to make around a thousand calls each day and to them, each “No” brings them one step closer to the next “Yes.”
I think about the person who literally failed at every other attempt, and yet, they keep going. I think about their meltdowns. I think about the programmed failures and the catastrophes, or the personal explosions, and the nuclear fallouts; in which case, the smoke and the debris are too thick to see through and all one can do is count your fingers and your toes and hope that all are present and accounted for.
I think about people who lost it all; and I think about the inventors who gave everything they had to their inventions, and yet, everything exploded.
I think of this and then I look at myself. I think about my pages of scribbled notes and crumpled sheets of paper that missed the wastebasket.
I think about the hours I’ve contemplated my direction. I think about the adjustments and the hours I’ve spent on my craft. I think about the people who blew me off and those who would not give me a chance. I think about my moments where I showed a lack of patience and worse; I think about the times when I gave in because of a lack of faith.
I think about the times where I showed up but the fit wasn’t right. I think about the people I’ve encountered and the hopes I’ve had, and yet, with all the hopes and with the best intentions; still, the bottom fell out because the match wasn’t right.
I think about the existential meaning to this; and I wonder if I’m missing something here. I wonder if my dream needs a new plan. Or, maybe I need a new method of execution. And I go back to that idea, which I heard so long ago. “The right plan with the wrong execution.”
I think about the famously old saying, “Back to the old drawing board.”
I think about the people who succeeded after they’ve failed. I think about the decisions we make; and I mean even the simple ones too.
Whether to turn left or right or go up or down. I think about the decisions we make when we confide in each other or when we invest in each other. I think about the specifics of timing and how at any given moment, life can go in any direction. Yet somehow, there are these miracles called inventions. And some of these inventions are how we are speaking to each other now. We are communicating, miraculously, through a computer and once I click on the “Post” button, you are here with me.
I have my own special lab. I have this little place where no one else can go. I have this place where I come to invent. I have notes. I have my pages of research. I have a wastebasket that is piled high with scraps and old notes and old prototypes that blew up before they ever began.
I’ve had my share of meltdowns here.
I’ve had to have personal interventions here—I’ve had to give me the pep-talk. I’ve had to remind myself that there is more to this craft of mine. There is more to me. I’ve had my share of successes and I’ve managed to put out some of my so-called inventions. I’ve done some really great work here.
I think about our potential. I think about our ability and the potentiality to improve. Then I think about the lab in my mind. I think about the labs that exist in the billions of minds around the world. I think about the potentiality of nothingness as opposed to the potentiality of movement—and without movement, nothing moves. Nobody goes anywhere. All we are is stagnant and lost, sad, and given to the tragedies of an invention that never worked out.
I am here now (with you) in my lab. I am cleaning up (so-to-speak) and preparing for a new model. I’ve accepted the outcomes of my last experiments and as I clean up my mental workstation, I am turning the page. I’m creating a new blueprint. I have to move passed the last attempts, clean what needs cleaning, and then I have to move forward with my new trick.
Newton’s Law says an object at rest will stay at rest, and an object in motion will stay in motion at constant velocity, unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. Inertia is the tendency of an object to resist changes in its velocity: whether in motion or motionless.
Resisting change does not mean change is not happening. Resisting help does not mean help is not available. And, resisting the obvious does not mean the obvious is not happening. Either way, life happens. We can only do one of two things. We can resist and spend our energy fighting what’s happening or we can accept what is and find new ways to adapt and improve.
It’s okay to fail. And it’s okay when things do not work out.
This is today.
Tomorrow comes with a new plan.
I’m sure of it.