Success (HLD 368)

26 March 2021

“If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again”.

There are a few ideas about when this phrase first originated. There’s a popular theory that Robert the Bruce, while hiding in a cave from Scotland’s southern neighbours, was inspired by a spider trying to spin a web, failing, but keeping on trying. This is what apparently inspired RtB to take on the dreaded foe once again at Bannockburn, and eventually smacking the Poms in a manner that Australian cricketers still use as a motivational tool. 

But the majority of the internet research options will tell you that the quote first appeared in print in a book designed to help educate children in doing their homework. There are no cricket references to be found in this anecdote so we will move in. Oh – it appeared as a song lyric too, which made it much more familiar to people who weren’t Scottish people living in 1314, or school children in America in the early 1800’s. (The author who wrote the school children quote was, in actually fact, born in Scotland, so maybe it came from RtB after all…)

It’s a wonderful quote, encouraging all of us to keep trying. Perseverance is the key! Don’t give up! And so on. Or…. it’s an easy setup for comedians everywhere.

If at first you don’t succeed, maybe skydiving isn’t for you.

If at first you don’t succeed, redefine success.

If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried. 

If at first you don’t succeed, find a scapegoat.

If at first you don’t succeed, get a bigger hammer.

If at first you don’t succeed, failure may be your style. 

If at first you don’t succeed, blame your parents. 

If at first you don’t succeed, blame someone else.

If at first you don’t succeed, do it the way your wife/husband told you in the first place.

If at first you don’t succeed, you’re running about average.

If at first you don’t succeed, flush again.

If at first you don’t succeed, try two more times so that your failure is statistically significant.

If at first you don’t succeed, we have a lot in common.

My favourite research tool also tells me that the origins of the word ‘succeed’ originated as ‘enduring’, before mingling with the french version of similar word to meaning ‘flow on’, or ‘come near to’. Lately of course it means successfully achieving something, reaching a pinnacle of achievement, achieving perfection in a task.

Which takes me to my favourite social media post of the day. It’s a video of a bunch of children saying the word ‘perfect’. All goes smoothly until the camera pans to the youngest – possibly around 3 years old, who pronounces the word as clearly as she can – “f**k it”.

If at first you don’t succeed – perfect.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s