Q-Tips and Calculated Failure

Olga and I were at Costco the other day when a box of Q-tips came at us so fast we were stopped dead in our tracks, like deer in the headlights. Okay, it was actually three boxes, but let me explain how this ear-cleaner’s dream became a calculated failure.

We had them on our shopping list. As we rounded the corner, the mountainous display of swabby goodness stood proudly. The angel choir sang, holding the billboard-sized discount sign on high. We knew our quest was over, and then, we froze…

The euphoria of a seemingly good deal settled. Our cynical and distrusting minds began calculating. But for that moment, we could not compute. We knew Costco is known for the best deals, but sometimes they aren’t the best (that is their sneaky genius). This was a three pack, excellent. But they were 625 count. We’ve spotted good prices elsewhere in 1000 count, we were sure of it.

For a larger purchase we would have waited. We would have logged the price and crosschecked with other outlets. We would have scoured the matrix. And thus, we stood computing, antlers high, lights speeding closer.

And then sanity returned. We had run from the side of the road and suddenly realized we didn’t know what lay on the other side. We could turn back or continue, but this was no time to wander in indecision. There was a marginal benefit in retreat should our intuition prove correct. But to charge on only to discover we’d been had, that was the way to never again forget who really has the best priced Q-tips! And so we charged on… and the angels sang.

And now, to the moral of this allegorical madness:

When risk is minimal, fail often.

We learn far more from failure than from success. Henry Ford said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

Charge on and fail when there isn’t much to lose, you’ll learn from it.

What failures have you learned from recently?