Bad Breaks

A boy in Decatur, Illinois, was deeply interested in photography. He answered an ad in a magazine, ordering a book on photography. The publisher made a mistake and sent him instead a book about magic and ventriloquism, and he began practicing the art of throwing his voice. He created a wooden dummy to whom, at one time, millions of people listened on Sunday evenings - Charlie McCarthy. Edgar Bergen had turned a mistake into a fabulous career. James Whistler, the renowned artist, wanted more than anything to be a soldier. He even entered West Point as a cadet. But he failed in a chemistry examination. Later he joked about the one wrong answer that had meant the difference between passing and failing. He said, "If silicon had been a gas, I would have been a major general instead of an artist."

Commenting on these two examples, Eric Butterworth noted, "in your own frustrating experience you can and should take a good look at a bad break. There may well be in your frustration the means of making it fruitful.