I grew up during the Space Race -- when we were locked in a competition with the Soviet Union to be the first in space, then the first in orbit around the earth, and then the first to the Moon. I remember watching many space launches on live TV when I was a kid, and when Neil Armstrong set foot on the lunar surface.
While I never had the opportunity to witness a space launch in person, I have long been intrigued by rockets and space travel.
Elon Musk and his company SpaceX have also been locked in a competition, not with the USSR (or its successor, Russia), but with their private-sector competitors, including Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, Jeff Bezo's Blue Origin, and many others.
Of course, not every launch is a success, in fact, many end in failure. But, of course, it's through failure that we learn, and the faster we fail, the faster we learn. This is what makes failure -- and the learning that occurs after -- such powerful things.
If anyone knows the power of failure and learning, Elon Musk surely does. He doesn't fear failure, he embraces it. So much so that he just released a blooper reel of SpaceX rocket failures (in the video above).
What I found particularly fascinating about the video, besides all the explosions, was the short blurb that accompanied many of the failures, explaining the reason behind them. For example:
- July 2014 -- Breaks apart after tipping
- August 2014 -- Engine sensor failed
- September 2014 -- Ran out of liquid oxygen
- January 2015 -- Ran out of hydraulic fluid
- April 2015 -- Sticky throttle valve
Each time there was a failure, the SpaceX team learned from it, fixed the problem, then tried again.
At the end of the video, two more events are shown:
- December 2015 -- First successful land landing
- April 2016 -- First successful droneship (sea) landing
So, take a lesson from Elon Musk, and understand that failure is the first step in learning. Don't fear failure, embrace it. And learn lessons that help you do a better job the next time. That's what real success is all about.