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Monday, December 29, 2014

Failing to Fail

Is it worse to fail at something or never attempt it in the first place? ("65 Deep Philosophical Questions" by Operation-Meditation. Retrieved at:

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:17 NIV).

There is a saying that exceptional cases make for bad law. We can say the same thing in regards to this question. Typically, it is far worse never to attempt something in the first place rather than to attempt something that results in failure.  Fear of Failure can become the intimidating idol that we cowardly worship.  There are exceptions. The surgery that could restore mobility to the body but which surgery comes at a very high risk even of death is a case in point. Ultimately in these cases, it must be the family's responsibility to make the final call. But in the overwhelming majority of cases, it is far worse never to attempt something in the first place rather than to risk failure. Recent research has shown that higher-quality products derive from learning that takes place through many trial and error attempts, rather than through perfect planning of an ideal product in which no action is taken until the one sublime plan appears. That is, for example, we will make a much finer pottery vase through making perhaps hundreds of them on a trial and error basis before arriving --possibly with serendipity's help--at a product of excellence; rather than by doing the alternative--avoiding fabrication until the perfect plan for the ideal vase is first conjectured.  Practical hands-on action has great value in ultimately producing exceptional results.  During the interim, failure can only be seen as the necessary road to an admirable end.


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