I was looking for the origin of the quote “Failure is not an option.”. You find some interesting sources. I still do not know if the source I found is the right one.
I really love the spirit in this quote. And the fact that the origin lies within someone from the Apollo 13 project makes it even more interesting.
Failure is not an option
Most of the time when you hear Alfred Korzybski classic saying you do not hear the full version. Almost all of the time you get the abbreviation.
We live in a highly complex world. The things we create get also more complex each day. Sometimes we have to simplify our creations. But is there a degree of simplicity which is too much?
Maybe a little quote from Einstein could help with the thinking.
I used the texture vintage wax from ~TSPStock and if you want you can make your own wallpaper using the triangles from here
Most people know Sun Tsu (or Sunzi, Sun Tse,…) for his treatise The art of war. Don’t worry. This is not some article on war and tactics. We are going to rip a thought out of Sun‘s book and use it for good in daily life.
By discovering the enemy’s dispositions and remaining invisible ourselves, we can keep our forces concentrated, while the enemy’s must be divided.
One of the principles underlying this paragraph is that you cannot fight something you do not perceive. Sun Tsu says:
Make it visible!
You cannot fight an invisible enemy. Who is the enemy? Maybe the question should be What. Think of it not only in terms of business – think of changing habits, managing projects,…
Sun Tsu speaks: Make it visible!
- Define things
Especially when working in a team. It is important to speak and think of the same things. Otherwise there will be ill communication.
- Write things down
You will forget things you do not write down. If you do not forget them they will occupy your memory. If you have to concentrate to remember you will not realize the important things.
- Make a plan
Once you layout the facts you know what, when and where. Guess what: If you have a map of the solar system it is easy to find a hidden planet.
- Stay reasonable
You do not need a map of the universe if you want to plan a trip to New York.
Especially when changing habits, you will have to stick to point 4. Based on field reports and studies from some clever scientists it takes at least 30 days to change a habit with a lasting effect.
Just in case, you wonder who this Sun Tsu guy is and what The art of war is all about, then start here:
If you really want to read the book I really suggest this one: Sunzi Speaks: The Art of War
Do you know Parkinson’s law? Well, maybe you do not know that you know it.
“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”
Sounds familiar? You know what happens if you give a task a certain amount of time. You will use it. Or fill the spare minutes with things you do not need to do. It seems that the application of Pareto’s law gets better when time is not available.
Maybe you take the wallpaper (which will fit a screen with 16:9) and let Mercury remind you that there are tasks which need to be done. Parkinson’s law and Mercury seems to be a strange combination – if you think of Mercury as a god of trade and travel, the importance of effectiveness over efficiency clearly makes sense. But this is a different story…
The uncropped version of the picture can be seen on 500px.com
Mercury by Stefan Steinbauer
Sometimes pictures make you think. Especially at the end of the year, where it’s traditionally the time to reflect on the past year and think about what choices you made, which choice you did not take and what you learned.
The motive present is always the standing at the crossroads. I wanted to collect some thoughts on what you can do at such a point – using this photograph.
- You choose a path.
- You do not choose and wait for something (This might be the worst solution in most cases but can be a good choice on rare occasions).
- Maximize your options. If you look in the picture below, you do not see the path to the right because the camera covers a lot but does not give you the whole picture. Think of “The map is not the territory!“.
- Invent a path.
Whatever you do: Think first!
If you want you can use the picture below as a wallpaper (This one is 1920×1080 and creative commons). It might help as a visual anchor to think on what you want to achieve 2012. Use your brain and don’t let it be the other way around.
crossroads of choice by Stefan Steinbauer
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View, California, 94041, USA.
Sometimes the way things look, sound or feel are created by the tools used in the process of creation. I think that most of the people would think on analog tools like the ones a blacksmith uses. Read more