Category Archives: failure

The Man in the Arena

I recently received some neckties from my friend Xan’s soon-to-be-renamed clothing company, Buffalo & Company, and I found a card with this Teddy Roosevelt quote in the box: It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done […]

Swashbuckling, or how to respond to failure

Back in November, I read these words from Seth Godin: “Learning from a failure is critical. Connecting effort with failure at an emotional level is crippling. … Early in our careers, we’re encouraged to avoid failure, and one way we do that is by building up a set of emotions around failure, emotions we try […]

The Importance of Optimism – Part 2

Optimism is a choice. Events do not change us. Our perceptions of events change us. A man loses a child in a car wreck and shakes his fist at God: if God were good, then he never would have let this happen. The man’s wife instead sees a broken world where an unhappy stranger drinks […]

The Importance of Optimism

In a recent post, I wrote about the importance of curiosity. Thomas Edison never would have gotten 1093 patents without a mountain of it. Another personality trait that I believe Edison must have had in abundance is optimism. I can’t speak for Edison’s day or his business colleagues, but I know more pessimists than optimists. […]

The Importance of Curiosity

Of course, Thomas Edison’s perspiration wouldn’t have produced marketable incandescent light bulbs without some other factors. How did Thomas Edison keep that hard work effective even if he couldn’t have always been efficient? I think it’s safe to say that Edison worked very, very hard while building a team of brilliant, talented people. Or perhaps […]

99% Perspiration

A man who truly understood the importance of failing better, Thomas Edison is often credited with inventing the light bulb. He did not, in fact, invent the light bulb. If as many as twenty-two other inventors created an incandescent lamp, then why do we associate Edison with this ubiquitous invention? Historians make plenty of speculations, […]

Fail Better

If technology will never replace perspiration, then how does one become a master of one’s craft? I mentioned briefly in an earlier post, “Living A Life of Significance,” Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers. In it, Gladwell borrows from the work of psychologist K. Anders Ericsson, who had studied how people developer expertise for many years. Simply […]

Living A Life of Significance

In the middle of November, I gave a talk at TEDx Knoxville. My friend Alex Lavidge organized the event and invited me to speak. I was very excited and could still remember the first TED talk I had ever watched. It introduced me to William Kamkwamba, a boy from Malawi who used a book about […]

Creativity is just connecting things

My friend Gregg let me borrow the Bloomgberg Businessweek edition celebrating the life of Steve Jobs. One Jobs quote from a 1996 Wired magazine interview struck me with its simplicity: “Creativity is just connecting things.” I think we often associate creativity with trying to dream up a new idea or piece together a solution to […]