What Success (and Learning) Really Looks Like

I love the image below from comedian Demetri Martin on what “success” really looks like:


The “messiness” of the work, and the ups and downs, are all part of what someone must embrace to get to the next level.  I heard a quote once that resonated with me that said, “it takes years of hard work to become an overnight success.”  We sometimes don’t realize the ups and downs someone has gone through to move from one point to another.

But what if I took the same image and made a slight alteration?

Screen Shot 2016-01-16 at 8.43.40 AM

Does it still make sense?

The image on the left reminds me of a textbook. Flip the page, flip the page, flip the page, until you get to some end point.  Where as the picture on the right shows the ups and downs of learning to develop and create something moving forward.  This video that I first saw shared from my brother, and has been shared often, shows the “ups and downs” of learning.

What I love about this video is that it it shows the messiness of the “process of learning”, as opposed to simply the “product”.  Audri doesn’t only show how his creation worked, but he understands and embraces there will be missteps along the way.  His enthusiasm for his success would not be as sweet if he did not show you where things failed.  I am not a firm believer in “embracing failure”, but I do believe that it is crucial to understand that failure is often a part of truly powerful learning.  How do we get back up to move to that next stage?  That is what is essential.

When I was a kid, Pluto was a planet, and we realize that some information changes over time. However, the ability to learn, including understanding the messiness of it all, is a skill that lasts a lifetime.  The process is as important, if not more so, than the product.

How do you embrace the “messiness”?

One Comment

  1. Rod Gimpel said:

    Love it.
    Failure does lead to success. The process is definitely instructive and should be the focus of our learning.

    February 22, 2016

Comments are closed.