Sunday 21 January 2024

Nerd Church - Beautiful Failure

Warning: some discussion of Anxiety and Depression, brief ref. to abusive friendship

I'm not a fan of failing.

And I know, I know, all the dude-bros and productivity coaches and all that will be like, 'failure is a stepping stone to success!' or some sh**, but it doesn't change the fact that I don't like failing.

Title: Beautiful Failure. Image: fancy flowers strewn artfully over an open book

I mean, no-one likes failing, if we're being perfectly honest.

I, especially, don't like being Wrong (yes, with the capital W,) - my Anxiety and Depression (more of those capital letters,) tend to latch onto being Wrong and run with it.

So, yeah, doing something Wrong by accident has provoked panic attacks in the past.

And I could go into more of why that is but a) it's complex, and b) we'd be here all day. Let's just say that there was a toxic/abusive friendship that contributed to making a pre-existing tendency go haywire, and leave it at that.

So, I don't like failing. I don't like being Wrong.

That doesn't mean I won't admit when I'm wrong (that's SO important, dearest nerdlets!), but I still don't like it, to a pretty extreme degree.

But sometimes, even I have to admit that some failures? Are a thing of beauty.

Are you familiar with the Nobel Prize?

Well, for those who aren't - Alfred Nobel, a Swedish inventor/chemist, left his fortune for the betterment of humanity (partially to help wash the weapons-related blood off his hands, Tony-Stark-style.)

Since then there's been a bunch of Nobel Prizes awarded for various fields of study and achievement - most of which are related to branches of science.

In 2023, the Nobel Prize for Physics went jointly to Pierre Agostini, Ferenc Krausz, and Anne L'Huillier for their work on measuring attoseconds.

...Which resulted, entirely by accident, in developing tech for possible early, and accurate, blood tests for chronic diseases - such as cancer.

In 'Nobel Minds 2023' (which you can see on YouTube here, with the part I'm talking about starting at the 40.18 time-stamp here,) Ferenc Krausz and Anne L'Huillier explain that this was... really a failure.

They didn't do the thing they intended to do - but what they found instead, in trying to measure attoseconds, was a way to potentially make leaps and bounds in medicine.

And there is no more beautiful failure than that - an amazing accident of science.

I guess failures aren't all bad - sometimes they're pretty damned awesome.

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  1. I didn't know this story!

    That abusive friend should spectacularly FAIL and be proved WRONG for a change. How dare they.

    1. I think it's one of those beautiful science stories, y'know? It's great.

      And yeah... it was a long time ago. Just, every time I think I've dealt with all the sh** she put me through, something else rears its head. Teenage drama can actually be a lot more serious than it seemed at the time. Like, it's only a lot later, once we were away from the situation, that me and a bunch of the others (she collected us like toys, I swear,) realised you should never be SCARED of someone who's a friend, y'know?

  2. What a great story about the nobel prize! I do think that I too put a lot of pressure on myself to not be wrong. But it is even more awful that you had to deal with such pain in a former friendship. I'm glad you're out of it now!

    1. The Nobel Prize thing is great - I love it :)

      Argh, you have my sympathy. It's not a great feeling.

      It was a long time ago - I just have a few issues that ultimately stem from those years, I guess. *shrugs*


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