Mel Brooks on Failure

My wife bought me the Mel Brooks autobiography All About Me: My Remarkable Life in Show Business for my birthday. Having just finished Children of Dune, it was finally time to dust off what I can only describe as a book you can only read in the author's voice.

On page 45 - just barely a tenth of the way through! - Mel Brooks drops this passage on failure:

I think it's important to fail, especially between the ages of twenty and thirty. Success is like sugar. It's too good. It's too sweet. It's too wonderful and it burns up very quickly. Failure is like corned beef hash. It takes a while to eat. It takes a while to digest. But it stays with you. Failure may not feel good when it happens, but it will always sharpen your mind. You'll always ask yourself, "Where did I go wrong? Why didn't this joke or this sketch work?" And there will always be reasons. You can't just say, “Well, it's not funny." You have to ask yourself, "Why is it not funny?"

I love this take.

Failure is a lot like corned beef hash - nobody wants to eat it, but it still provides a little nutritional value and sustenance.


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