What Makes a Maker: Resilience

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This miniblog is in memory of one of the author’s personal heroes: Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa and longtime anti-apartheid revolutionary.  He passed away today at the age of 95. Mandela spent 27 years in prison for fighting against racial segregation— before he was elected the first black president of South Africa in his nation’s first multiracial elections.

Resilience (aka “grit,” “perseverance,” or “willingness to tough it out”) is among the best predictors of success in pretty much any endeavour.  The fact is, things often don’t work. Things often fail spectacularly.  Before British engineer Sir James Dyson perfected his new model of vacuum cleaner, he went 5,127 prototypes and 15 years of effort.  Today, he has a billion-dollar business and patents on bestselling vacuum technology.

As Makers, we have to appreciate the entire process of doing things: not just the final result, but all the setbacks and learning experiences that come hand-in-hand with trying something new.  This isn’t easy, but it may be the only way to succeed.

“Do not judge me by my successes,” said Nelson Mandela, “judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

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