What if Norm Larsen and his team gave up after 39 failures?

In 1953 Norm Larsen’s small company was hard at work, attempting to invent an industrial liquid that displaced water to prevent rust and degrease surfaces for the aerospace industry.  They tried and failed 39 times before finally developing the perfect formula.

The name of their product, WD-40, is now synonymous with fixing squeaks, loosening bolts and over 2000 other official uses (http://wd40.com/uses-tips/).  It is a ubiquitous item in virtually every household tool drawer.

The name WD-40 holds special meaning.  The letters “WD” stand for “water displacement”. The number “40” refers to the number of tries it took before they finally succeeded, memorializing the amount of trial and error Larsen’s team endured.

Whether you are working on the next big product that will change and industry or developing an innovative strategy to change an organization, remember not to give up.  Regardless of your vocation, perseverance pays off.

If Larsen’s team called it quits after 39 tries, the world would be a much squeakier and rustier place than it is today.  Keep his story in mind whenever you are looking at the edge of a new and challenging endeavor.  It is OK to fail once.  In fact, it is OK to fail 39 times.

It’s what you do with that failure and how you turn it into success that counts.