Intended for healthcare professionals

Choice Gp

Failure: the great teacher

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 12 June 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:0

Once in a gloomy moment, to console myself, I wrote: “One learns nothing from success, only from failure.” Somebody must have thought the same before, and it is probably more true than untrue. Failure obliges change. Success breeds complacency and fear of change. Hence success contains the seeds of failure. In a fast changing world stagnation means eventual failure. The first will be last. (We can perhaps see this now in the world of medical journals.)

Failure is, however, a greater taboo than sex or money, argues Carl Gray (Career Focus, classified …

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