Have you ever experienced a massive failure. If you haven’t, you should. We really don’t make progress and grow without some failure. We don’t push into new territory in our relationships, in education, or at work without failure. Most people fear failure – yet, failure is one of the building blocks of success. What we need to do is to understand the dynamic of what we call failure. It is learning how not to do something. So in honor of this principal I want to remind you that on this day in 1957, known as “E-Day” in the automotive world. The Ford Motor Company unveiled the Edsel, the first NEW automobile brand produced by one of the Big Three car companies since 1938. (Although many people call it the “Ford Edsel,” in fact Edsel was a division all its own, like Lincoln or Mercury.) Thirteen hundred independent Edsel dealers offered four models for sale: the smaller Pacer and Ranger and the larger Citation and Corsair.
According to many historians, the Edsel serves as a symbol of corporate hubris at its worst: it was an over-hyped, over-sized, over-designed monstrosity. In short it was a failure out the factory door. When Ford executives began planning for the company’s new brand, the economy was booming and people were snapping up enormous gas-guzzlers as fast as automakers could build them. However, by the time the Edsel hit showrooms, the economic outlook was bad and getting worse. People didn’t want big, glitzy fin cars anymore; they wanted small, efficient ones instead. The Edsel was ostentatious and expensive and caused buyers to wince.
Years ago the name Edsel was associated with failure. It seems to me that we need a few failures to learn what we are all about. Steve Jobs needed the “Lisa” computer, Thomas Edison needed to try 1000 different light bulbs to get the right one, Coke had to try the “New” Coke, and the list goes on and on. Don’t be afraid to learn. In fact I would go on to say embrace failure – if you haven’t failed do it sometime.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” 2 Corinthians 12:9