warning: this way of #learning and progressing in life is not approved by most #teachers

This is interesting.

That there’s a possibility that we learn more from bad writers than we from the good ones.

Or that we learn more from bad business decisions than from the good decisions. More from making more mistakes than from our successes. What do you think?

Now you may be thinking, what is jOsh trying to say here? Well, stay with me for a little bit longer. Stay with me and I’m going to tell you the most important lesson that I’m starting to learn as an adult.

It’s nothing scientific or anything. So nothing to worry about. The lesson is this.

Success is a function of failure.


Freeze right there and think about it.

No more reading… just think about that line for a bit.

Seriously, take your time.

Take a moment to think about this concept deeper than you’ve ever done before.

And if you can, don’t read anything else today… just find a way to add that into your thinking – just in case like me, you grew up running away from making mistakes – not because you did it knowingly but because that’s what they taught you – both at school and at home.

Teacher and parents always insisted: don’t make such and such mistakes. But today, some of us are going to learn a different thinking.

I’ll say it again.

Success is a function of failure.

Thomas Edison, we’re told, failed about 10,000 times. But he didn’t say, Shit! I’m going to quit, now! But instead he said,

I just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.

That’s awesome!

Instead of saying I failed but I’m going to try again – which would’ve been just fine, he said I found what doesn’t work.

Most teachers and parents don’t teach that wisdom to their children. What most teachers and parents, well, as far as my own experience is, teach about make no mistakes, then get a job. But they forget that…

Success is a function of failure.

Now, to understand this concept better than I thought I understood it, something happened a few days ago as I was watching Richard Quest on CNN. I like watching the man exaggerate all the business news… in Quest Means Business.

He can talk about Greece’s financial crisis as if it’s the end of the world. Well, I record his shows and when it’s time watch them I simply fast forward to what interests me.

On the show that I was watching, Richard Quest had the best-selling author of Freakonomics, Stephen J. Dubner as a guest. Quest asked Dubner as to whether he finds any time to read? Of which Mr. Dubner said,

‘I must, my job is reading and writing. So I must read.

And then he went on to say that, apparently, he learns more from reading poorly written novels.

That’s right. Bad books help him learn more. As a writer, he learns better ways to write what he wants to write about by reading poorly written fiction works. But he isn’t the first person to say that.

The same advice was given by Stephen King. Who advised young writers that to learn fast, one should read enough poorly written books. What do you think?

So success as a function of failure, doesn’t always have to be our own failures. Other people’s failures counts as well. If they fail and we know that they’ve failed, then it’s our job to learn a lesson from it.

Well, at first when I heard the Freakonomics author say what he said, I kind of felt like he said something not quite right. But later on as I thought more about it, I then realised that he was right:

We learn fast from what’s not good enough, from our mistakes, from bad books, from bad career choices, from business mistakes, from not setting the right goals…

But someone out there would to ask, but jOsh… what about learning from the best? Is that not as important as, if not more important?

That’s very true. Learning from the bad side, bad writers, failures and such is important if we want to excel, to grow beyond where we seem to have levelled off. That requires time and dedication.

But if  we only have two day to learn something, it’s obvious that we’d want to learn from the best.

Even Plato once said,

The wise man will want to be ever with him who is better than himself.

And to add to that, David Henry Thoreau said,

Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.


I hate concluding thoughts because it’s like saying, now that I know… or now that I’ve all the facts. But I don’t collect facts like scientists, in a scientific way – which in after many years, we are told that something wasn’t right… and so a conclusion need some corrections.

I like scientists, but I don’t want to be one of them. And if that word is used more by academicians, I declare myself not one of them.

So I think I’d like to use the word conclusion loosely. I’m not that serious to use the work properly with it’s due respect. Call that rambling and then hear this.

We learn from both bad experiences, poorly written books (or whatever content), and from good experiences, good books, good business decisions and so on.

We learn from what doesn’t work the same way we learn from finding what works.

The time it takes us from finding what works depends on where we are in relation to where we want to go.

Thomas Edison had to fail 10000 because after all, his technology was very new at the time.

Which means if we want to start a business today, if we want to explore the already explored paths of life today, there is no reason why we should find even 1000 ways that don’t work. (That will be the sign of an unfocused mind.)

Which also means, if we do a good job of research and planning, we can find a way that works for us pretty soon.

But after saying all that, here is one thing that’s certain:

If you are looking for some sort of success because you don’t see yourself as a success story as you’d like, then there’s only one answer to your question (did you ask  a question?)…

And that’s you haven’t failed enough.

Fail in style.

Fail fast.


And then learn your lesson.

That’s a sure way to success.

Remember, success is a function of failure.

Go seek for failure and success will come along as well.

Have a good day.

Talk again later!