I had an unexpected conversation over dinner on Friday night. A close friend went on a lengthy rant about meteorologists. “Name one other job in which you can be so wrong and have no accountability.” This is not an original observation, as we have all felt the same at some point having been fooled by the forecast. But if you think about it a little, you can find parallels in many other lines of work. Another close friend complains about baseball players. “Where else can you succeed only 30% of the time and be considered a star?”
I have a different POV. It is my contention that most of us are, at best, .300 hitters. We do stuff, try stuff, all the time that doesn’t work out. We don’t measure every effort with the relentless precision of baseball stats, but if we did, we might find more empathy with batters, or even with weathermen being judged by an enormous audience. With things completely under our control — like that ever happens — we might have the expectation that we should be right far more than wrong. But with most things, we are but a single force among many, so the best we can do is to give it our best shot, learn from the result, then go back and do it again. Repeat that process often enough and you win.
Failure, as a path to learning and success, is way underrated. The downside of failure is that we weren’t taught to embrace it.