The report you’ve been updating for 2 hours, but somehow never hit “save”. The code you tweaked all day but hadn’t gotten far enough to upload to the repository. The server build you had to bail on because the hard drive was faulty (but you only discovered halfway through all the installs). The software patch that SEEMED to be working OK until you pushed it to 100 machines and it failed on 30 of them.

What do you do when you have to start over?

Like most of us you probably curse a little (or a lot), take a walk around the office (or the block), maybe vent to a coworker (or two, or seven).

But after that…

Do you continue to look for ways to salvage the situation? Go searching for backups? Dig online for ways to restore the auto-save copy? Reboot the box to see if “maybe it was just a temporary glitch”?

In short, do you get caught up in your own private dollar auction, stubbornly trying to outbid reality  – not so you can win, but so that you lose less?

Or do you accept that this is actually a chance to do it better the second time?

PostScript: Steven Tyler wrote the lyrics to “Walk This Way” the night before Aerosmith was set to record it, as a last-minute addition “Toys in the Attic”. But then he forgot them in the cab on the way to the recording studio. When he realized they were missing, it was too late to find the cab. He had to re-write them more or less from scratch. The original lyrics were never found. Tyler is certain the version we all know is better.

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