I saw an an article on Seth Godin’s blog about positive thinking. Godin makes the valid point that people who think positively tend to succeed more, in part because their confidence means they don’t second-guess themselves. You can easily waste a lot of energy debating what to do.
A point that Seth didn’t cover is that positive thinking means it’s more likely you will attempt something new: if you feel you can accomplish a task, you’re more likely to try. Sometimes, when you try something new, you will succeed. Other times you will fail. When you fail, there’s a chance you will learn – and learning makes it easier to succeed next time.
One of the key take aways of agile development for me is “experiment, and fail early”. Fail early, fail often, fail cheaply. And learn every time.