There are many ways to say certain things. The importance of failure as a key ingredient of success has been evoked by dozens, if not hundreds of figures throughout our history.
Among the influential minds who embraces this notion is Frank Wilczek, an American theoretical physicist and mathematician, currently the Herman Feshbach Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His line of work is complicated, to say the least. But working on complex problems means you get away with failure more often than anywhere else. Which is why the following applies regardless of one’s profession:
If you don’t make mistakes, you’re not working on hard enough problems. And that’s a big mistake.
A Nobel prize laureate, Wilczek is on the Scientific Advisory Board for the Future of Life Institute. What got him there was his discovery – along with David Gross and H. David Politzer – of asymptotic freedom in the theory of the strong interaction.
But you don’t have to be a Nobel laureate to engage in solving hard problems. Delivering value is a sure way to success, morally, socially, and financially. The takeaway from Wilczek’s quip? Don’t dwell on failure for too long and get back on the saddle for a second attempt. Don’t worry about failing either. The likelihood of it happening is directly proportional to the magnitude of the problem being tackled.