The Failure/Success Paradox - Story of Pablo Picasso

Parag Rudani's photo
Parag Rudani
·Mar 7, 2021·

4 min read

The Failure/Success Paradox - Story of Pablo Picasso

When Pablo Picasso was an old man, he was sitting in a cafe in Span, doodling on a used napkin.

He was nonchalant about whole thing, drawing whatever amused him in the moment, kind of the same way teenage boys draw penises on bathroom stalls-except this was Picasso, so his bathroom-stall penises were more like cubist/impressionist awesomeness laced on top of faint coffee stains.

Anyway, some women sitting near him was looking on in awe.

After a few moments, Picasso finished his coffee and crumbled up the napkin to away as he left.

The women stopped him. "Wait, Can I have that napkin you were just drawing on? I will you for it."

"Sure," Picasso Replied. "Twenty thousand dollars."

The women's head jolted back as if he had just flung a brick at her. "What? It took you like two minutes to draw that."

"No, ma'am," Picasso said. "It took me over sixty years to draw this." he stuffed the napkin in his pocket and walked out of the cafe.

Improvement at anything is based on thousands of tiny faialure, and the magnitude of your success is based on how many times you've failed at something.

If someone is better than you at something, then it's likely because she has failed at it more than you have.

If someone is worse than you, it's likely because he hasn't been through all of the painful learning experiences you have.

If you think about a young child trying to learn to walk, that child will fall down and hurt itself hundred of times. But at no point does that child ever stop and think, "Oh, I guess walking just isn't for me. I'm not good at it."

Avoiding failure is something we learn at some later point in life. I'm sure a lot of it comes from our education system, which judges rigorously based on performance and punishes those who don't do well.

Another large share of it comes from overbeating or critical parents who don't let their kids screw up on their own often enough, and instead punishes them for trying anything new or not preordained.

And then we have all the mass media that constantly expose us to stellar after success, while not showing us the thousands of hours of dull practice and tedium that were required to achieve that success.

At some point, most of us reach a place where we're afraid to fail, where we instinctively avoid failure and stick only to what is placed in front of us or only what we're already good at.

This confines us and stifles us. We can be truly successful only at something we're wiling to fail at. If we're unwilling to fail, then we're unwilling to succeed.

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