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December 17, 2010

doing the same thing again and expecting different results is not insane

Is it just me, or are people suddenly citing the following quote all over the place: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results"? It is variously attributed to Albert Einstein, Ben Franklin, and Mark Twain, but may actually come from mystery writer Rita Mae Brown. In any case, it's false because:

1. Even if it is an example of insane behavior, it is not the definition of it.

2. It is often not insane, or even unwise. Any time there is a less-than-100-percent chance of obtaining a great outcome by doing something, you should consider repeating that something until you get the payoff. Quitting after a few attempts would be--if not insane--dumb.

(People who repeat this phrase seem to expect good results even though stating it hasn't achieved anything in the past. That does not make them insane but it does make them inconsistent.)

December 17, 2010 7:32 AM | category: none



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