Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago · 1 min. reading time · visibility ~10 ·

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How to Fail

Thanks to Kathy Finnerty Thomas  for her post today Failure is success in Progress which inspired me to dig up this old post of mine.  Read her post here.


Seeking opportunities where failure may occur seems counter intuitive to a successful career.

But it isn't.

If you are innovative, failure will occur.

If you are an IT leader, Innovation is now part of your job description.

If you don't encounter failure, you aren't stretching enough.

You don't have a big enough vision.

It's not whether or not you fail, it's HOW you fail that counts.

Thomas Edison was a master at failure. Take a lesson from him.

Use your favorite search engine and type "Thomas Edison quotes".  You can't help but be inspired.

Was he an easy person to get along with? Was he a workaholic who had sometime unscrupulous business practices?

No, and yes.

I'm not saying you should emulate Edison in these areas. But in spite of this, Edison really grasped the concept that to do new things, you will sometimes, and perhaps many times, fail to get the results you anticipated.

On the way to a goal, failure is a mechanism of learning.

Failing doesn't mean you change your expected destination, it means you change your tactics on how to get there.

If you fail and don't learn from it, it is incompetence. (Harsh word, but true)

Failure as a result of rushing madly off in all directions without a clear understanding of desired outcomes is not failure, it is incompetence.

Know your destination.  Know where you want to go.

Expect a few challenges along the way.

You will be a better leader for it.

My favourite quotation of Edison's?

"I make more mistakes than anyone else I know, and sooner or later, I patent most of them."


Image: Wikipedia Commons

Note: This post previously published on my blog Turning Technology Invisible

About the Author:

I'm the Chief Information Officer for Appleby College, in Oakville, Ontario Canada, where my team is transforming the delivery of education through innovative application of technology.

I'm convinced that IT leadership needs to dramatically change how IT is delivered rather than being relegated to a costly overhead department.

In addition to transforming IT in my role as CIO, I look for every opportunity to talk about this... writing, speaking and now blogging on BeBee ( ) , LinkedIn, ITWorld Canada, or at

I also shoot things... with my camera. Check out my photostream at

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Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #13

I haven't heard of that book Jena Ball but will add it to my list.

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #12

Nice to have you back Ken Boddie... I haven't groaned at a comment for quite some time.

Ken Boddie

5 years ago #11

Just had a light bulb moment, Kev. Didn't realise that the consequence of making so many mistakes was so 'patently' obvious. 😉

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #10

Based on all your good writing Paul Walters, you must fail a lot to get so much accomplished... or maybe it's because you live in Bali.

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #9

Thanks Jena Ball. Every day we benefit because someone was bold enough to risk failure to discover a better way.

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #8

As long as the number of times you pick yourself up is greater than the number of times you fall, you should do okay Vincent Andrew

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #7

Thanks Lisa Gallagher

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #6

I think Dean-san that the % of kids who drop out of college and become instantly successful is minuscule to the % that drop out of school and don't go anywhere. Or they are like me. I left university mid way... then worked like a dog for years and finally went back in my early 40's to finish my degree and go right through to an MBA. I do have a lot of scars and callouses from the journey, but they have shaped my success. I like to read biographies... and if you read the bios of those whiz kids that dropped out of school and changed the world, you will see that most of them had significantly more resources at their disposal than us normal folks. Trust funds tend to help when it comes to starting from 'scratch'.

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #5

Thanks Melissa Hefferman. We never know when our number gets called. I like to think I live like I'll die tomorrow, but plan like I'll live forever.

Paul Walters

5 years ago #4

Oh well, I recon if I dont fail at least 10 times a day I havent achieved much !

Lisa Gallagher

5 years ago #3

spot on Kevin Pashuk, and love this quote by Thomas Edison, "Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.:" And this line from you, "Failing doesn't mean you change your expected destination, it means you change your tactics on how to get there." Excellent buzz!

Dean Owen

5 years ago #2

Love that final quote. What's your take Kevin-san on those kids that drop out of college to pursue an idea and find success first try?

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #1

Thanks Kathy Finnerty Thomas for the inspiration for me to remember this post from a while back.

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