Fail Like You Mean It | Big Think | Summary and Q&A

April 23, 2012
Big Think
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Fail Like You Mean It | Big Think


Project success is often perceived as a seamless journey, but the reality is that it involves countless challenges, unexpected problems, and multiple failed attempts before achieving the desired outcome.

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Key Insights

  • 😀 Project success is rarely a linear and straightforward process. It involves facing numerous challenges and unexpected problems.
  • ❤️‍🩹 Media and public perception tend to overlook the failures and struggles that precede project success, focusing solely on the end result.
  • 📽️ Those who succeed in projects often fail more frequently than they succeed, as they are attempting to do something that has not been done before.
  • 📽️ Failures are essential learning experiences and contribute to the creation of a roadmap for future projects.
  • 👻 Persistence and resilience are crucial qualities for achieving project success, as they allow individuals to overcome setbacks and failures.
  • 💦 Project success should be acknowledged as a result of hard work, adaptation, and problem-solving rather than a seamless journey.
  • 📽️ The perception of project success as effortless can create a false narrative and unrealistic expectations for individuals embarking on their own projects.

Questions & Answers

Q: Why is project success perceived as a straightforward and effortless process?

Project success is often presented this way in media and public perception because they focus on the end result and the impact it can have. They have limited time and attention span, and it is more appealing to hear a concise success story rather than the long and arduous journey behind it.

Q: How do unexpected problems impact project progress?

Unexpected problems can derail a project, causing delays, rethinking of strategies, and the need for alternative technologies. They force the team to adapt and find solutions, often leading to a longer and more challenging process than initially anticipated.

Q: What is the significance of failures in achieving project success?

Failures play a crucial role in project success as they provide valuable learning experiences. Those who succeed in projects often fail more frequently, as they are venturing into uncharted territory. Failures lead to new insights, approaches, and ultimately contribute to the creation of a roadmap for future endeavors.

Q: How important is persistence in project success?

Persistence is a vital characteristic of successful individuals. Despite encountering countless failures and setbacks, they continue working towards their goals, learning from their mistakes, and making continuous progress. It is their determination that eventually leads to project success.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Projects start with a simple objective but encounter unforeseen challenges along the way, requiring constant adaptation and problem-solving.

  • Media and public perception often overlook the struggles and failures that are an inherent part of project success.

  • Successful individuals persist despite numerous failures and make significant progress by learning from their mistakes.

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