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Treat Failure Like a Scientist

Treating Failure Like a Scientist

When a scientist runs an experiment, there are all sorts of results that could happen: Some are positive and some are negative, but all of them are data points. Each result is a piece of data that can ultimately lead to an answer.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Treat Failure Like a Scientist

Treat Failure Like a Scientist

https://jamesclear.com/failure-scientist

jamesclear.com

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Key Ideas

Treating Failure Like a Scientist

When a scientist runs an experiment, there are all sorts of results that could happen: Some are positive and some are negative, but all of them are data points. Each result is a piece of data that can ultimately lead to an answer.

Failure as an indicator of worth

Failure feels like an indication of who we are as a person. Failing a test means you’re not smart enough. Failing to get fit means you’re undesirable. Failing in business means you don’t have what it takes. And so on.

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Fear of failure

We are taught from a young age that failure is bad and something to fear. But, failure is an excellent stepping stone to success. 

We never learn to move out of our comfort zone ...

Failure is temporary

... and failure is good even if it feels really bad when it happens.

 Look for the greater message of the experience and expect it to, eventually, turn out for the good.

Routine failing

It means you are actually active, doing something, moving forward.

We limit ourselves, and we impede our ability to make big things happen when we buy into what society says will work or not work.

We must take a leap, take calculated risks, and be patient for the results. We don’t need to have everything worked out beforehand.

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Importance of failure

We need to start talking about failure as life's master instructor. Experiences in failure are less about not finding success than they are about problem solving, and the skills cultivated a...

People who turned failing into success
  • JK Rowling. One of the most powerful modern writers whose net worth hovers around $1 billion was once living on welfare.
  • Walt Disney. Before the Disney empire was built, he was fired as a writer for lacking imagination and good ideas.
  • Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first TV job as a news anchor for being too emotionally invested in the stories she covered.
  • Steven Spielberg was rejected by the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts multiple times. Today, the profit of his movies exceeds $9 billion.

  • Lady GaGa, with 6 Grammy awards and entry to the Songwriters Hall of Fame, was dropped as a young artist after 3 months with record label Island Def Jam. 

  • Stephen King's failure and rejection as a writer persisted well into his adult years, before striking gold with his story, Carrie.

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.

F...

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.
Failure and Success

We've all been bred to strive for success, attain perfection, sacrifice our dreams for obligation and "win", but we forget that failure is a necessary part of success.

Success happens ...

Thomas Edison on failure
Thomas Edison's most memorable invention was the light bulb, which purportedly took him 1,000 tries before he developed a successful prototype: How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?”
Failure Is Life’s Greatest Teacher

Failure and defeat are life’s greatest teachers [but] sadly, most people, and particularly conservative corporate cultures, don’t want to go there...Instead they choose to play it safe, to fly below the radar, repeating the same safe choices over and over again. They operate under the belief that if they make no waves, they attract no attention; no one will yell at them for failing because they generally never attempt anything great at which they could possibly fail (or succeed).” 

 - Ralph Heath

Failure is essential for success
The prevailing school of thought in progressive companies—such as Intuit, General Electric, Corning and Virgin Atlantic—is that great success depends on great risk, and failure is simply a common byproduct. Executives of such organizations don’t mourn their mistakes but instead parlay them into future gains.

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We’re swayed by anecdotes
We’re swayed by anecdotes
Most of us are influenced more powerfully by personal testimony from a single person than by impersonal ratings or outcomes averaged across many people. This is the power of anecdote to dull our criti...
We’re overconfident

We overestimate our comprehension of the science. 

Part of the problem seems to be that we infer our understanding of scientific text based on how well we have comprehended the language used. This “fluency bias” can also apply to science lectures when it is delivered by an engaging speaker.

We’re seduced by graphs
It doesn’t take a lot to dazzle the average newspaper or magazine reader using the superficial props of science, be that formulas, graphics or jargon. 

One study found that participants were far more likely to support new evidence when it had a graphic visualisation of the correlational evidence than if they had read the same evidence without a graphic.

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Failure and growth

Failure is an important part of growth, a valuable learning experience.

But failure is not the goal, it is not something to strive for. It is merely a byproduct of trying new th...

Failure is useful

... but feeling like a failure is not. And in today's world that's incredibly easy, especially because social media gives you access to people you look up to; that makes comparing your accomplishments to theirs almost effortless.

Feeling miserable about yourself because you have not done the same things in the same way with the same popularity as your heroes is a toxic habit that you must try to stop. 

Seeing the “impostor syndrome” differently

Start seeing it not as a syndrome, but as a part of the human condition. Because everybody feels like that at one time or another.

Learn to see its positive parts: not knowing exactly what you are doing is a gift because there are no absolute right answers. You are coming at something with fresh eyes

 “So I studied my history, I studied my past, and I put every mistake, all of my triumphs–my 22-year career–into my 2-hour Homecoming performance.”

Beyoncé

“When a scientist runs an experiment, there are all sorts of results that could happen. Some results are positive and some are negative, but all of them are data points. Each result is a piece o...

“When a scientist runs an experiment, there are all sorts of results that could happen. Some results are positive and some are negative, but all of them are data points. Each result is a piece of data that can ultimately lead to an answer. And that’s exactly how a scientist treats failure: as another data point.”

James Clear

“What people don’t see is the sacrifice.”

Beyoncé

“What people don’t see is the sacrifice.”

Beyoncé

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Pursue what appears to be a paradox

It will force you to reexamine the full body of evidence with new eyes.

Seeking relevant knowledge in unfamiliar disciplines increases the odds of serendipitous insights and ...

Spot contradictions and novel patterns

Go on cross-disciplinary research expeditions.

By reading and translating the literature in fields outside your own, the full body of evidence surrounding a problem become apparent. 

Focus on data and methods

Ignore the author’s conclusions.

When you are doing cross-disciplinary research what really matters is the structure of the full body of evidence rather than any authors’ particular interpretation of their data in one paper, which is often biased. 

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