July 03, 2014 at 10:16PM
"[A]s the IBM pioneer Thomas Watson said, 'If you want to succeed, double your failure rate.'" #readingToday

It is no tragedy to think of the most successful people in any field as superheroes. But it is a tragedy when a belief in the judgment of experts or the marketplace rather than a belief in ourselves causes us to give up, as John Kennedy Toole did when he committed suicide after publishers repeatedly rejected his manuscript for the posthumously best-selling Confederacy of Dunces. And so when tempted to judge someone by his or her degree of success, I like to remind myself that were they to start over, Stephen King might be only a Richard Bachman and V. S. Naipaul just another struggling author, and somewhere out there roam the equals of Bill Gates and Bruce Willis and Roger Maris who are not rich and famous, equals on whom Fortune did not bestow the right breakthrough product or TV show or year. What I've learned, above all, is to keep marching forward because the best news is that since chance does play a role, one important factor in success is under our control: the number of at bats, the number of chances taken, the number of opportunities seized. For even a coin weighted toward failure will sometimes land on success. Or as the IBM pioneer Thomas Watson said, "If you want to succeed, double your failure rate."

The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules our Lives, Leonard Mlodinow´╗┐