wcfieldsOkay, I will admit, while I try not to get frustrated, there is one thing that will always put me over the edge. You get an idea, you present it and someone says, “We tried that…” The implication being that, “We did it. It failed. We’re never doing that again.” I hope people don’t approach their whole lives like that.

Now I will admit, there is such a thing as knowing when to quit. Every day of my Jr. High gym class years, I passed by a poster the teacher hung in the locker room. It held a picture of W.C. Fields saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again… Then quit, no use being a ___ fool about it.” I’m not sure it had the effect my teacher desired in my case because I applied that philosophy to things like pull-ups, chin-ups and rope climbing. I’ve never done any of those. There is a time to give up, but I think most of us think we hit that point a long time before we actually do.

A big part of a successful creative life, is allowing yourself to fail, and then allowing yourself to take what you learned and try again. Remember creativity is solving problems and not all those solutions are going to be easy. Some are going to require a lot of different efforts and sometimes you’re going to need to do something more than once in order to succeed.

Some of the problems we need to solve are huge and some are “life and death” at least for the organizations we serve. Looking to the past, saying we tried something once and giving up is really not an option. If we’re truly committed to solving a problem, we will keep trying things until something solves the problem. There is a name for people who do that…


Keep trying until something works. Do that until it stops working and while it’s still working figure out what’s next. Then start doing that as soon as the first thing stops working. Then just repeat this process infinitely.

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