“You never fail until you stop trying.” -Albert Einstein

I was thinking about our discussion in class about how “failures” or “negative” results are often looked down upon or found to be unacceptable in the academic world.  However, these “negative” or unexpected results can be incredibly informative to other researchers.  Learning about what has been attempted before can help researchers develop new and innovative research questions, or at the very least, learn what NOT to do and why.  I think this view of failure likely stems from society as a whole and the pressure to be successful.  But, in my opinion, so-called failures contribute to progress.

This train of thought led me to some of some of the most prominent members of society and their famous quotes about failure that I vaguely remembered hearing before.  Pretty interesting that some of the most famous people of all time had such insight to realize that no results or an unsuccessful experiment is, in fact, a valid result.

A sample of a few of my favorites:

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” -Winston Churchill

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” -Henry Ford

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

3 thoughts on ““You never fail until you stop trying.” -Albert Einstein

  1. Your post is interesting, here is also another one:

    “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure”. Abraham Lincoln

  2. I agree with you that “negative or unexpected results” are informative in some cases. However, for PhD students or other researchers, “negative or unexpected results” are usually not a good sign since the value of work is likely not to be acknowledged. I remember someone posted in the blog that several journals do publish negative data. It is still a small number compared to the large volume of journals. Perhaps there should be more venues for publications of negative results?

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