James Dyson – A Story Of Success Through Failure
Every failure is a chance to learn. Because it is our nature to improve, humans have been able to become such an advanced race in a short time. To succeed we have learned from past mistakes and applied them toward a better future. The drive to succeed is ingrained in our very beings and etched into our history forever by inventors like Di Vinci and Edison, writers like J. K Rowling and painters like Picasso who, through facing their obstacles and overcoming their adversity, have achieved what can only be some of the world’s greatest contributions. However, the idea that failure always leads to success can only be valid if someone experiencing adversity has the will to move past it, to fix what was wrong and improve. Without the drive to better yourself and your work, success will cease to be an option.
A prime example of this is Sir James Dyson, An incredibly understated inventor and someone who has been lost to history. Knighted by the queen, he was an industrial design engineer and is best known for his work on the principle of Cyclonic Separation which lead to his greatest achievement: the Dyson vacuum. When he was nine his father died of cancer, leaving his mother to support him and his two siblings on her own. His father’s death not only left him feeling insecure, but also instilled in him a high degree of determination and drove him to prove his worth. Since then Dyson studied art in London and, contrary to what you would think, never received an engineering degree. Even after the death of his father, James Dyson was able to overcome his heartbreak and adversity. He succeeded through sheer determination, carrying on when others would have given up. As a young adult working with the Ballbarrow company, which was then producing one of Dyson’s early inventions, Dyson raised the question of an improved vacuum design. He was frustrated with the sub-par cleaning systems of the current vacuums on the market and sought ways to improve them. The directors thought if it was possible, Hoover or Electrolux would have invented it and tried to discourage him from pursuing it further. Undeterred, Dyson continued with his ideas and, as a result, was eventually kicked out of his company. Even with money tight due to his unemployment, Dyson still managed to build 5,127 prototype designs over the course of five years, all of which he constructed within the shed behind his house. When asked about it, he replied: “I made 5,127 prototypes of my vacuum before I got it right. There were 5,126 failures. But I learned from each one. That’s how I came up with a solution. So I don’t mind failure. ” Failure after failure Dyson refused to give up and he pressed on. Even one of our most used problem-solving strategies focuses on using failure.
The main idea of the “Process of elimination” is to keep trying until you get the right answer; the best way to overcome failure is to take into account what went wrong and how you can go about fixing it next time. An excellent quote made by James Dyson is, “The key to success is failure… Success is made of 99 percent failure. ” Dyson grew up in a single parent household with two other siblings, never received a degree in engineering yet was still able to rise to the top. He had over five thousand failures and he learned from each one of them. With his drive to persevere, he came out on top, building a multi-billion dollar empire in the process. From using the process of elimination in everyday life to innovating vacuums, success is possible through the acknowledgment of failure. With the drive to improve, we can succeed.
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