Failure Is The Price Of Tuition For Learning

I  have learned more about fungi from Paul Stamets‘s book Mycelium Running ( link)  than any other resource.  While other books on mushrooms are often great field guides for identifying individual species, Stamets’s book has helped me to understand the ecology and relationships of mushrooms.  I still have a long way to go, but I feel like I understand the basics after years of being ignorant.

Along with the education provided on the topic, Stamets also provides insight into his journey and where he is today.  Like many successful people, it wasn’t a straight path; there were disappointments along the way.

Over the years, I have learned the value of attempting that which seems unlikely to succeed. Several times, I thought I had failed only to have the mycelium surge and fruit later. My failures oftentimes become my successes. But with every “failure,” if I have paid attention, I hone my skills and sensitivity to the mycelium’s needs. Hence, another of my mottos: Every failure is the price of tuition I have paid to learn a new lesson.

– Paul Stamets, from Mycelium Running, p. 122.

This quotation jumped out at me the first time I read the book.  I have attempted several things that were unlikely to succeed over the years.  Some succeeded, some didn’t, but I wouldn’t label any of them a failure.  The last line above really resonates with me; Every failure is the price of tuition I have paid to learn a new lesson.

Educational Philosophy, Quotations

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  • Matt

    Awesome book, isn’t it? Stamets is a real inspiration – he’s out there doing research that matters and making a difference, not just telling us what we already knew but didn’t have the numbers to ‘prove’. – nothing new if you read the book, but good to hear it from the man himself.

  • It’s one of my favorites on natural history, and my favorite on mycology.

  • Shannon Reese

    Figure 5 on page 7 is amazing! Not only does the mold mycelium disregard dead ends in the food maze, but it grows it’s way along every possible route forming a network. No wonder I feel like I’m always being watched in the woods.

    Have you tried the Mycogrow products from Fungi Perfecti? I’ve used them for the last two years. The most dramatic results I observed were in my annual beds. I had both tomato and basil plants that were well over six feet tall, and not in a leggy overfertilized way. The only other amendment to the soil was mulching with compost.
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