I’ve learnt the most from mistakes that I have made. It’s a common thing with entrepreneurs that lessons learned from screw ups are often the most valuable.
I have assembled some humorous images and stories about failure that I think we can all take a little bit of inspiration from.
Have you ever tried your hardest at something only for disaster to strike at the most in opportune time and you wish you could go back in time? Once when I was washing up my favourite wine glasses I was trying so hard not to break or chip them and in doing so, ended up getting so nervous and breaking all of them. Whenever I’m washing up wine glasses now I always think of that moment and try to be as natural as I can when I’m washing them up.
Sometimes there is just a simple breakdown in communication, like on this cake above where the instructions from the customer was to write “we’ll miss you” on the corner of the cake rather than actually writing the words “on the corner.” The resulting cake is a lot more memorable and funny than originally intended.
The idea for the Post-it note was conceived in 1974 by Arthur Fry as a way of holding bookmarks in his hymnal while singing in the church choir. He was aware of an adhesive accidentally developed in 1968 by fellow 3M employee Spencer Silver. In 1968 Spencer Silver, with a PhD in organic chemistry, worked for 3M as a senior chemist. Among 3M’s most popular products at the time were different kinds of adhesives, and Silver worked on a project to create a new kind of stronger glue. Unfortunately his prototype was a failure: the glue was weak, too weak to be useful for anything. Read more about the story here.
The Leaning tower of Pisa was actually the result of a human mistake.
The construction of the Tower began in 1173. Originally designed to be a bell tower, it stood upright for over 5 years, but when the third floorwas completed in 1178 it began to lean. Italians were shocked by the event, as the tower began to lean ever so slightly, construction was halted for 100 years. Today the leaning tower draws over 1 million visitors every year. I am sure that the number of visitors to Pisa would be a small fraction if the tower were perfectly vertical.
We shouldn't automatically think of mistakes as being bad. There is a story of a medical laboratory that ran the wrong blood test. It turned out to be very fortunate because the results came back positive and they were able to treat the patient for something they otherwise would have missed.
There are many stories about medical failures that resulted in unbelievably important discoveries. For example penicillin.
In 1928, Alexander Fleming was working in his lab investigating staphylococci, or staph. Fleming had recently been complaining to an assistant about the extra work he had after an aid had been transferred out of his lab. To illustrate his point, Fleming left behind a stack of uncleaned petri dishes when he went away on a vacation. When he returned, Fleming was startled to find that the bacteria had been cleaned from the dishes after all — by a mold.
After some experimenting with the mold, Fleming was able to find the compound that killed the bacteria, which eventually led to one of the development of penicillin.
In summary, Failure has famously lead to:
* Medical discoveries
* Tourist attractions
* Humorous cakes
* Art and craft movements
Here are some more links to have a look at some famous failures.
@totallygourmet - An Instagram dedicated to awkward food photos and weird mistakes as well as very unappetising dishes.
In conclusion, the enemy of success is fear of failure. It's not failure itself that's so dangerous--it's the fear of failure that keeps us doing nothing. Like all fears, you conquer it by facing it and learning from it.
I would love to hear from you on any other stories inventions or breakthroughs that have come as a result of failures.