Dateline: September 19, 2013
Gallery Espresso, Chippewa Square, Savannah, Georgia
“Small coffee, to-go cup,” I requested. “And fill it to the top. I’ll probably spill it on the way out.” My barista responded, with a glance, “Leave room for mistakes.” It was both a question and a statement. And we both agreed it could serve as a metaphor for the day.
Leaving room for failure is another way of looking at success. Failure is an option when you engage in change, and accept that not all innovations are successful. At least not at first. Consider the master of 19th century US invention. In an anecdote worth retelling, it serves as a story on innovation and its close cousin, failure. Thomas Edison was interviewed by a young reporter who asked if he felt like a failure and if he thought he should just give up by now. Perplexed, Edison is said to have replied, "Why would I feel like a failure? I now know definitively over 9,000 ways that an electric light bulb will not work. Success is almost in my grasp." Shortly after that, and over 10,000 attempts, Edison invented the light bulb.
In the inspirational TED talk by J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, Rowling says,
“Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you lived so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you fail by default."
So, fill ‘er up. Right to the top, and let’s get this day underway. Umm, does anyone have a good tip for cleaning a coffee stain?