Every day we try to do well and minimise our failures. The problem is, we’re going to fail frequently no matter what. Rather than trying to minimise the quantity of failures, you should try reducing their impact. Here’s why.
When Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3) launched, I was thoroughly impressed by the way they chose to operate. Rather than using a bunch of expensive, more reliable stuff, Amazon decided to use lower-grade hard drives and equipment. This kept costs down and ensured their equipment would fail regularly. One of those things is obviously good and the other seems bad, but it’s not. Hard drives fail all the time, no matter how great they are. Amazon realised they’re going to have hard drives die often anyway, so they might as well use the less-reliable but much cheaper stuff (which isn’t much worse to begin with) and replace it a little bit more often. The moral of the story? Failure is inevitable, so if you accept that it’s going to happen and plan for it, you’ll minimise its effects and can easily move straight towards success.
This doesn’t just apply to hard drives. Your life is bound to be made up of more failures than successes, so there’s no sense in trying to avoid them — they’re going to happen whether you like it or not. Perhaps you can ignore the frequency, but if you can come up with a plan to minimise the damage failures cause they may cause almost no trouble at all.