May 2017
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Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

I’ve tried a lot of things. Some went well and others didn’t. Occasionally I learn enough from the first experience to know not to try again. Other times the first failed attempt motivates me to make improvements and try again. Quite often my second attempt is much more successful than the first. The failure taught me enough to succeed. Life will test you. Embrace the failures and see them for what they are – tremendous learning opportunities. The more you try and fail, the more you will learn.

Recently I posted about making yogurt. The first attempt at that was bad. Eventually I found a better process and the results were great. If I had given up after the first failure, I wouldn’t have enjoyed the success – or the yogurt.

Soon I will publish a post about the chicken tractor I built. The post will talk about the benefits of a chicken tractor, but even more importantly it will be about what not to do. My chicken tractor design turned out to be a failure due to my own stubborn determination to overbuild it. Look for that post soon.

I’ve had a lot of mixed results in my gardening. Some of the biggest failures taught me the most valuable lessons. I started my garden in 2009 and located it where it was most convenient for me. That was before I knew anything about permaculture – or gardening for that matter. The past 6 years have produced some successes but many failures too. I have recently determined that I need to move the entire garden because I picked a bad location in the first place. Again it was stubbornness that led me to delay this decision. Permaculture teaches us to observer nature, and that observation has convinced me it is time to make a significant change.

A few years ago I planted a lot of fruit trees in our open space. I envisioned an orchard. The soil is not very good to say the least – unless you want to make bricks. I planted there anyway. I spent a lot of time hand watering the trees the first summer. Some of those trees didn’t make it, and I stubbornly planted new ones in the same spots. Eventually permaculture taught me new techniques that I am trying now. Techniques like a swale where newly planted fruit trees did very well this past summer with minimal watering during a very hot, dry summer.

My second aquaponics system worked a lot better than the first. One of the lessons I learned from my first aquaponics systems was how to build it in such a way that allowed for modifications and reusing of parts. I’ll cover that in a future post.

My first attempt at a biodiesel processor taught me lessons that led to much better results with the second one. The same happened with composting, black soldier fly larvae, and solar panels.

There’s a pattern in my activities. I have failed a lot. I learn a lot from the failures – most likely more than I learn from the successes. Don’t be afraid to try things. Don’t be afraid to fail on the first try. Learn from it. If you see value in the project, redesign it and try again. You should never stop learning and improving. This applies to everything you do in life. Give it all you have and life will give back to you.

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