An explosion can teach us a lot

Explosions are generally, on the whole, considered a bad thing.

But an explosion can teach us something.

When one of SpaceX’s Falcon rockets completely decimated itself earlier today, we were reminded (and some of us taught) that in order to push the boundaries of what is possible, we must learn to accept there will be failures which cause a backwards or sideways step.

But accepting setbacks is not the difficult part. Understanding and then adapting to those failings is what is most challenging. You must analyse every mistake made, every ball dropped, every wrong turn taken, and then you must learn as much as you can from that analysis.

It’s difficult work. It’s time consuming work. It’s why so many people treat failure as the end of the road.

Once failure has occurred, they say, no more can be done.

That’s just not true.

There is no such thing as failure if you dust yourself off and keep working.

Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, co-founder of Tesla Motors and once the largest shareholder in PayPal, is a man who hasn’t ever accepted failure as an end-point. Rather, failure to him is a signal that progress is being made.

He’s the 83rd richest man in the world, and he has likely failed more times than you and I could count.

Yet his influence is staggering. SpaceX is pushing exploration of the wider universe back in to the public limelight, taking the pressure off NASA and its now limited budget. With Tesla, Musk has forced the motor industry to innovate, moving the electric car sector forward by ten to 20 years.

These are industries which — before Musk encouraged change — were scared, unable or simply reluctant to the idea of innovation and rapid progress.

Musk has never shown signs of giving up, even when odds are stacked against him, or setbacks are at every turn.

Look at where he is.

Look at where you could be.

Push forward, and forget that failure even exists.


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