Posted by: rundadrun | March 29, 2011

If at first you don’t succeed, DON”T SKYDIVE!

What do Harry Wesley Coover, Art Fry and Dr. Spencer Silver have in common?  If you go strictly by  their early attempts at success, they were utter failures.

Dr. Coover is the inventor of Super Glue.  He passed away Saturday at the age of 94.  When he discovered Super Glue, he was actually attempting to make plastic gun sights for rifles during World War II.  The problem was, the chemical he invented stuck to everything it touched.  Years later, while working with a colleague on coatings for fighter plane cockpit canopies at Eastman Kodak, he re-visited his earlier discovery.  While going through a long list of chemicals and testing them in a refractometer, they managed to destroy the machine by sticking the 2 expensive lenses of the machine together.  The 910th chemical that they tried was such a failure that it destroyed their testing equipment!  But it was that “failure” , Cyanoacrylate, that would later become Super Glue.  In fact, for years the name of the “new discovery” was Eastman 910! His 910th attempt was a failure as far as his original intent was concerned, but became his biggest success.

You may not know the names Art Fry and Spencer Silver, but I bet you are not more than 100 feet away from their collaborative invention.  And it too was the result of failure.  Spencer Silver developed an adhesive that could be applied and removed over and over.  He pitched the idea to his company, 3M, for more than 5 years with no success.  It wasn’t until a co-worker who had heard Silver speak about the product, came up with the idea of putting the “semi” adhesive on some yellow scraps of paper and “Post It Notes” were born.  Again, an amazing discovery from the midst of many failures.

Why are we so afraid of failure?  If failure is followed by trying again, it can lead to great success.  Imagine if Edison had given up after only trying a few materials for the filament of a light bulb.  Or if the Wright Brothers had given up and gone back to their bicycle shop after a few failed take-offs.  Your Super Glue moment may only be a couple of tries away!

I know when I first started running again after almost 20 years off, I failed miserably a couple of times.  Luckily, I had a lot of good support and some very good reasons to keep going out and trying.

Spiritually speaking, I am a slow starter as well.  There are times that I wonder if God can possibly have enough Grace to overlook my failures.  But I know that He does!

And as a husband and a father…well, ask my wife and kids how far from perfect I am there! 🙂  But I assure you, it is not a low number.

With many things, it is the getting up and trying to get it right that matters most.  I will never be an Olympic runner, but I will continue to run as if it is a possibility.  And I know that I will never reach perfection on this side of Heaven, but I will keep getting up and trying.  Who knows, I may be only one or two failures away from it now… I had better keep running and praying. 🙂

Happy running,



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