“Anything worth succeeding in, is worth failing in.”
~by Edison?


      A contractor friend showed up at my house a few weeks ago just after I finished making the hearth and installing my new wood/coal stove. He complimented me on how “awesome” it looked. I then lamented that though it looked great, the reality was that it was built  on a series of mistakes that I had to keep fixing and working around. With a working man’s wisdom he replied, “If you don’t do anything, you’ll never make any mistakes.” It took me a while to realize that he was complimenting me because I was a doer of things. At least I tried and mucked through to complete something worth doing instead of not doing anything at all.

That’s a little bit like presenting your WW Fenn. Some of you gifted with great recall will present a flawless version of your poem or passage. Some of you who have recited your piece many times over with nary a stumble in your room, in the car on the way to school, or even just before you get on stage–but will blank out, stumble, and stammer through those same words you thought you knew and knew by heart twenty times already–only to have those same words fail you in the heat of the moment.

…but though the words may fail you, you have not failed. The only way you could possibly fail is not to try to succeed, and from what I have seen so far almost all of you are trying to succeed, and in the end that is all that really matters, for in the end I always hear Thoreau’s words ringing in my head: “Do not measure a man by what he is, but by what he aspires to be.”

Always be able to say, “At least I tried…”

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