“I think and think for months and years. Ninety-nine times, the conclusion is false. The hundredth time I am right.”
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
“It is no good getting furious if you get stuck. What I do is keep thinking about the problem but work on something else. Sometimes it is years before I see the way forward. In the case of information loss and black holes, it was 29 years.”
We’re seeing a theme here, aren’t we? Only by trying again and again do we succeed at the hardest tasks. And that means to succeed, we must fail. Perhaps we should banish the word “failure” from our vocabularies and replace it with “provisional tries” or “opportunities to learn,” for each failure gives us information on a path not to follow, a technique to discard, a relationship to jettison. As a former teacher, I always learned the most from those students whom I didn’t reach. They remained with me far longer than all the successes I had. They became my most effective teachers.