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No Matter. Try Again. Fail Again. Fail Better

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Sometimes there is a deep truth in advertising. Perhaps the copywriter of this commercial once dreamt of becoming a poet or a philosopher but ended up in advertising. Then again, some philosophers who wrote in aphorisms, such as Nietzsche, E.M. Cioran and Wittgenstein and writers such as Oscar Wilde would have made great copywriters. As cultural artefacts the best in advertising is on par with the best in art and philosophy.

I love this Nike commercial featuring Michael Jordan. It is so very true. If you want to succeed, whether in sports, art or science, you have to practise, practise, practise and not be afraid of failure. Michael Jordan is famous for his seemingly impossible messy shots, shifting the ball in flight from his right to his left hand and giving it just the right lift to hit the basket. But only the winning shots are replayed and remembered. The numbers may actually be correct since the NBA is obsessed with game and player statistics. Ohh, and he omits the fact that he was cut from his sophomore basket ball team at high school because he was considered too short and not good enough.

The title of this post, No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better is a quotation from Worstward Ho (1983) by Samuel Beckett. It is also the text of a portrait of Beckett by British artist Tom Phillips.