This morning, I came across a songbook of the compositions of the Beatles over a two-year period in the 1960s. Flipping through the pages, I was surprised to see two things.
First, they wrote tons of songs. Second, I was amazed at how many mediocre songs Lennon and McCartney actually wrote over that time. Here was the most celebrated songwriting team of the twentieth century and they had a success rate of 5% or so.
I think many of us expect our success rate to be high or we're a failure. The reality is that Earnest Hemmingway, Thomas Edison, Ben Franklin, David Mamet and the other geniuses of our time all produced tons of crap.
The lesson? Failures are essential to achievement. If you're prolific, it's easier to get the one hit that matters and that can set you up for life.
If you don't believe me, just consider the case of this guy: