Albert Einstein is famously credited with the observation that “Insanity is trying to do the exact same thing time after time after time and expecting different results”.
And while that quote makes for glib life strategy, it flies in the face of everything that we’ve learned about breakthrough.
Doing the same thing time after time after time after time and expecting different results is, in fact, the road map for success in any amazing venture.
From business to science or sports, math, or politics — “trying” is the key to achieving the outcomes that you want.
And trying many times.
You’ll often hear from life experts that you shouldn’t “try” anything. You should just “do it”. (As if you can “do” anything without first “trying” to “do” it.)
The secret to success is being insane enough to keep trying long after you keep failing. Your friends are telling you to quit, the data is telling you to quit, the results are telling you to quit — and you feel like quitting.
According to Einstein, it’s insane for you to keep trying. Especially if you’re expecting another result besides failure. After all, that’s all you’ve experienced thus far.
And according to the whimsical definition of insanity, failure is all you should continue to expect.
But that’s just not how success happens.
Example after example of unbelievably successful outcomes show the amazing insanity of success — hard working people doing the exact same thing try after try after try until they finally achieve breakthrough.
- Robert Goddard designed two hundred ideas for rockets before he got one to fly into space.
- Henry Ford went bankrupt five times before his automobile manufacturing idea started working
- Fred Smith was giving a failing grade by his Yale professor because his idea for FedEx “wasn’t feasible”.
- R.H. Macy went broke seven times before his clothing store caught on in New York City.
- J.K. Rowling shopped her book thirteen times before a publisher would take a look at he first Harry Potter book.
Make no mistake, trying is insane.
You’ll feel crazy doing the same thing day after day after day when no one else believes in you and you aren’t exactly sure if it is ever going to work out or not.
But you’ll never know unless you keep trying.
What if today was the day that you were going to win? What if that day you just stopped trying?
You might call “trying” a conquest of insanity. But perhaps “not trying” is really what’s crazy.
Perhaps its more insane to think that doing anything one time is going to turn out being the breakthrough moment for the rest of your life.
“Trying” isn’t so insane after all.
In fact, it’s the smartest way to spend the rest of your life.