Failing productively - Deepstash

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Why Scientists Need To Fail Better

Failing productively

  • Recognize that failing better is not easy in the present culture. Pay attention to the failures - not to correct them, but because they make you go back and reconsider your long-held views.
  • Recognize the intrinsic value beyond just correction. There is no way to predict which way a failure will turn out.

Failure is data. Failures lead to a fundamental change in the way we think about future experiments.

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Fail Fast!

In our Success obsessed society, failure is rampant, as every successful person has a string of past failures, and may have been a loser before eventually finding success.

Learning from Failure

The person who eventually succeeds after failing is the one who is using failure to learn, as a feedback mechanism, and applying those lessons in his future decisions.

Importance of Failing Fast

Failing Fast is crucial considering the first lesson of learning and taking feedback from failure.

The speed of failing ensures we take the path to success sooner rather than being stagnated and then having to pay the opportunity cost. 

Our eventual success depends on our failing fast.

Failure

At some point in life, all of us have failed. It could be something as simple as not getting through a driving licence test or something as big as losing in an international competition.

Failure doesn’t mean that you haven’t worked hard; it simply means that you need to take another approach to achieve what you want.

Failure is good in achieving success
  • Failure Strengthens You. Failure can tear you down but it also builds you to be a stronger person.
  • Failure Gives You a Sense of Direction. You get a sense of clarity on everywhere you have gone wrong and how to take a better path to reach where you want to be.
  • Failure Teaches You to Value all the right things in order to succeed.
  • Failure Gets Rid Of Fear. Once you are accustomed to failing you have nothing left to fear anymore.
  • Failure is an Opportunity. It shows us everywhere we might have gone wrong and gives us the opportunity to correct it.
  • Failure is an Experience and could give us a deeper understanding of life and alter the way we look at everything that happens around us.
Long-term flexible commitment

What many people fail at with long-term commitments is that they make their initial vision too rigid.

Flexible commitment can help overcome this by bringing together two properties. Flexibility to change the terms of your goal as information becomes available allowing you to redirect efforts and commitment to the core effort so as to not abandon your goal entirely.

Walk the Winding Path
  1. Stick to short commitments. Get good at this skill before going further.
  2. Understand your goal at different levels. The highest goal should be fairly abstract.
  3. Set a much more specific agenda of how I could fulfill this.
  4. Have periodic reviews where you can change your direction and incorporate new ideas. 
  5. Don't let your reviews interfere with the short-term process of committing.
The winding path: Goals and projects
Imagine your ambitions on two levels:
  1. A goal level, which is big-picture and abstract. It has just enough detail to inspire, but not so much that you're stuck pursuing things that don’t matter when conditions change. 
  2. Underneath that, have projects: these tend to be short-to-medium term efforts you think will help realize the larger goal.

The flexibility of the system comes once one leg of a short-term commitment has ended. This provides an opportunity for pivoting and redirecting.