Let's face the facts: Results matter

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Erik Bowman
  • 45th Launch Support Squadron
Results matter. I tell my folks that effort is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for success. To do well, one must actually deliver results.
If you think this is unfair, think about the consequences of an errant launch landing in a populated area. Just saying "But we really tried..." won't bring those people back, or make the launch successful.
We all want to be successful, but we don't always succeed. What are the critical factors to achieving success?
Your number of successes depends on two factors: your probability of success and the number of attempts you make (effort).
Your probability of success is affected by your talent and experience.
You may know someone who shot under 100 the first time they went out on the golf course - that's talent. But even if you scored a 144 on your first try (like me), you can get your score down to under 100 on any given day if you practice enough (and no, I'm still not there ...).
For non-critical tasks, sheer effort (i.e. no talent) can win the day. My cat, Maddie, can jump up on the keyboard and type "cat" - if she did so long enough to type slightly less than 100,000 characters.
Fortunately, our odds are better than that. Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel) was rejected 27 times before his first children's book was published - and most people know how successful he became.
As IBM pioneer Thomas Watson said, "If you want to succeed, double your failure rate."
But if you can't afford a single failure (e.g. launch), you have to increase your probability of success. For those of us who can't succeed on the first try, the answer is practice (i.e. experience). This is why we train and rehearse.
As I said earlier, results matter. But if you're not successful right away, it just means you have to try harder or practice more to get those results.
Don't let Thomas Edison's statement ring true for you: "[M]any of life's failures are from people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."