By | | ideas.ted.com
Years of planning and years of hard work aren’t enough to protect you from failure.
That’s the difficult lesson learned by astronomer Erika Hamden, an astrophysics professor at the University of Arizona and a TED Fellow. She and a team of researchers spent 10 years building FIREBall, a telescope designed to hang from a giant balloon 130,000 feet in the stratosphere and observes clouds of hydrogen gas. They finally deployed on September 22, 2018 — but there was a problem.
The balloon, it turns out, had a hole and crash-landed in the New Mexico desert. In a painful instant, the team saw all their work — and all the data they’d hoped to collect — collapse. But, as Hamden has since found, there are things you can do to move on from failure and rebuild your confidence. (Editor’s note: In November, TED and Dove Advanced Care partnered in a special workshop at TEDWomen2020 where Erika Hamden discussed some of the ideas presented here.)
As we know all too well, failure happens to anyone — not just to the people creating space telescopes. A presentation flops, a start-up has a bumpy launch, a store goes under, a writer gets blocked. This can be a huge blow and can often prevent you from trying again.