by H Mac Wooten

FAILING ….. is the ingredient that gives Success that special flavor!

Too many of us immediately quit if something doesn’t work or have our expected outcome the first time. Some of us try a second, third or maybe a couple more times before we resign ourselves to failure. In 1953 Norm Larson was trying to come up with something to stop rust or corrosion. To stop rust, you must take water or moisture out of the equation. Norm tried a ton of “recipes” which failed again and again.  Finally on his 40th attempt he accomplished what he set out to do. WD 40. WD stands for water displacement and on his 40th attempt he succeeded in accomplishing what he set out to do. Few of us have the patience or stick-to-it-ness to fail 39 times and try, yet, one more time.

We  shouldn’t let failure stop any of our efforts in life.  I, for one, do get frustrated and often give up too soon when something doesn’t go just perfectly the first time. Whether it’s in education, a relationship, our latest money making scheme, or trying to better ourselves.   If we take failure simply as a sign that we need to proceed in another direction, or add or delete ingredients in our life instead of quitting, we have a much better chance of achievement in everything we start.  Repetition is one of the keys to learning in school.  There are six steps to the scientific method, AA has a 12 step program and getting married 4 or 5 times before … ok, never mind, maybe that’s not a good example (many would say past the third time there’s No Charm!) Making homemade bread or homemade tortillas takes some practice to achieve perfection.  It took me quite a while to reach perfection with Rachmaninoff’s 3rd Concerto and almost as long to master the pan flute!;) Ok, you get where I’m headed with this.

Think of Norm when something doesn’t go right the 1st time.  Think of Norm when your student doesn’t get it the first, second, third, fourth, or fifth time.  I’m not impressed with Norm for the bizillions of dollars the Rocket Chemical Co. made from WD 40.  I’m impressed with his persistence and hope his persistence can be a role model for more of us.  Try (as I do ….. and I still have a long way to go) to practice the virtue of patience with others as well as with ourselves.

Teach a Teacher and our Volunteers provide Professional Development and help teach basic teaching skills to Teachers in some of the poorest areas.   Please visit us at www.teachateacher.org and www.teachateacher.wordpress.com and at teachateacher on Facebook.

Mac Wooten is President of Teach a Teacher nonprofit and uses WD 40 for almost everything!  A native of Greenville S.C.   We live and focus most of our  work in the Ancash region of Peru.

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