Failure as the Mother of Invention


This past month’s Costco Connection magazine had a wonderful article about Sir James Dyson (the man who invented very different and first bagless vacuum cleaners and other products).

The article points out how Dyson tried several things before stumbling upon the idea of a different vacuum cleaner. His first invention, The Dyson Ballbarrow was interesting, but not something that would later drive a successful company as the vacuum cleaner became.

The interesting point is it took him thirteen years of hammering in his work shed to finally develop his premier product. Thirteen years! His greatest success came at a cost—a lot of failure.

I love John Maxwell’s book Failing Forward. It’s a great book on how we can embrace failure as our friend. He points the reader to seven abilities needed to fail forward. They are seven abilities that enable people to fail, not take it personally, and keep moving forward.

  1. Achievers Reject Rejection. People who don’t give up keep trying because they don’t base their self-worth on performance. They don’t take failure personally.
  2. Achievers See Failures as Temporary. We can remain stuck in a hole if we take failure personally and as a long-term occurrence.
  3. Achievers See Failures as Isolated Incidents. Achievers don’t see failure as a life-long epidemic. No single incident colors their view of themselves.
  4. Achievers Keep Expectations Realistic. Approach each day with reasonable expectations and don’t get your feelings hurt when everything doesn’t turn out perfectly (according to your plan).
  5. Achievers Focus on Strengths. Winners concentrate on what they can do, not on what they cannot do. Develop and maximize your strengths.
  6. Achievers Vary Approaches to Achievement. Look at issues from every angle. Make changes. Don’t do things because they’ve always been done that way. Sir Dyson certainly took many different looks and approaches.
  7. Achievers Bounce Back. After an error, mistake, blunder or oopsy, we need to dust ourselves off and try again. We need to figure out what went wrong, and don’t do it again.

Achievers move forward no matter what happens. Sir Dyson kept going for thirteen years.Edison blew so many experiments the history of his work is legendary. What about you?

What is holding you back from being an Achiever?


Leave a Reply

  • Search

Trust is the winsome wedding of faith and hope.

Brennan Manning

©2014 Wayne Hastings. All Rights Reserved. Site by Birdsong Creative.