FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION .. A quote attributed to NASA Flight Director, Gene Kranz, prior to the launch of the Apollo 13 Moon Landing mission—despite the fact that he did not actually say this. His character in the movie, played by actor Ed Harris, said it. According to Wikipedia, FDO Flight Controller Jerry Bostick was interviewed by two script writers for the movie. He was asked if there weren’t times “when everybody, or at least a few people, just panicked?” Bostick replied “No, when bad things happened, we just calmly laid out all the options, and failure was not one of them.” He later realized the writers were thrilled with that response and ultimately turned it into the tagline of the movie.
I can state with absolute certainty that I am an expert at failure. Experience is a great teacher and I am a life-long learner. Still, I prefer to look at failure the way Thomas Edison did: I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
From: The Dark Between Stars by Atticus (p.152)
The trick is always
collect the tries
and you will
My sister, Victoria is a big fan of Atticus and she sent me the two books he had published by that time. The poem above reminded her of me so, she had it bookmarked. I like it. I discovered his poems are inspiring, witty, elusive, enticing, and deeply intimate. I like his books too!
I recently came across an article (originally published October 2017 in Medium) by author, Tony Fahkry, that was reprinted by Mission.org. It is titled “This Is Why Failure Is Not an Option, But A Prerequisite For Success.” It contains a lot of outstanding information and perspectives on why we should reframe our perception of the word failure. It IS inevitable.
“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.”
In the Spring of 2020, saddened by the shortage of sympathy cards at a desperate time in our history, I was motivated to start a niche greeting card line out of recycled card stock. I had studied the industry forecasts—which at that time, were estimated to be about 5% growth over the next five years. By the time I launched the biz, I had already battled and overcome some 19 major obstacles (such as card stock that was produced slightly smaller than was ordered– discovered only when I opened a new box of card stock—and after producing over 60 cards, etc.) I viewed these obstacles as things to overcome so, I just kept plugging away—even as the obstacles continued to block my efforts. In December 2022, I reevaluated what I was doing and decided to peek at industry forecasts again, which now reported the past two years had seen a 3.5% decline. OK, I’d hit the proverbial brick wall and accepted it was time to close the business.
Beyond a couple of sisters and my husband, the only other person who can (probably) catalog many of my failures, is my webmaster. I think he has better things to do than talk about his clients’ failures so, my secrets are safe. 🙂
I am returning to my writing roots. It’s what I’ve known I wanted to do since I was 13 years old.
Early this year (2023) I was referred to the book, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I had used one of Cameron’s exceptional quotes on a previous website so, I was shocked to realize I’d missed this treasure trove of creativity and motivation. I met a friend that day (a polymer clay artist) and asked if she was familiar with it. She was and kindly loaned me her copy, the 10th Anniversary Edition. Within a week I had purchased The Artist’s Way: 30th Anniversary Edition! I intend to embrace it as my new, inspirational writing course.
I mentioned “secrets” above. Another goal of mine for this year is overcoming a bad habit that I’ve had most of my life. Most of us have at least one bad habit and some have many. I have been successful in eliminating some of mine through the years—but there is one that has stubbornly resisted all attempts. Complicating the issue is vanity. This is where secrets come in. When we keep a secret—such as covering up a bad habit, we give it more power. Here is an article from Psychology Today on this subject: “The Top Ten Secrets People Don’t Share with Anyone.”
People suffering from eating disorders, hair pulling, or cutting, for example, likely try to keep these habits a secret. We are embarrassed, we feel insecure, or otherwise fear someone finding out.
I will elaborate more on this topic in my blog, Terry’s Take, where I write about optimal health and nutrition, pets/animals, writing, technology, and the environment. I hope you’ll check in from time to time.