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Little Failure: A Memoir With Memories (Good And Not So Good) Of SSSQ – by Gary Shteyngart

Little Failure, the title of satiric novelist and SSSQ alum Gary Shteyngart’s new memoir, is meant to describe Gary himself, a little failure according to his mother. The title could also describe our school through Gary’s eyes.

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How Do Leaders Deal With Failure?

by NPR/TED STAFF

January 17, 201412:00 AM

Four-star general Stanley McChrystal recounts some tough lessons about leadership he gained from the front lines — to listen, to learn, and to address the possibility of failure.

To read the full article click here

Fast Company: Why Doing Awesome Work Means Making Yourself Vulnerable

From an interview in Fast Company (9/17/12):

The first time Brené Brown read Theodore Roosevelt‘s exhortation that it is not the critic who counts, but rather “the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood,” and that “if he fails, he at least fails while daring greatly,” the author knew that what the pugilistic president was talking about back in 1910 was what she researches today: vulnerability.

And so those last two words are the title of her newest book, Daring Greatly, from publisher Gotham. Fast Company talked with Brown about why vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, how engagement got to be uncool, and why perfectionism is the enemy of getting work done.

Read the full article.

Vayechi (5774) – Surviving Failure – Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks writes:

Joseph had in double measure one of the necessary gifts of a leader: the ability to keep going despite opposition, envy, false accusation and repeated setbacks.

……

Setbacks too are part of the life-story of the most successful. J. K. Rowling’s initial Harry Potter novel was rejected by the first twelve publishers she sent it to. Another writer of a book about children suffered twenty-one rejections. The book was called “Lord of the Flies,” and its author, William Golding, was eventually awarded the Nobel Prize for literature.

In his famous commencement address at Stanford University the late Steve Jobs told the story of the three blows of fate that shaped his life: dropping out of university, being fired from Apple, the company he founded, and being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Rather than being defeated by them, he turned them all to creative use.

For twenty-two years I lived close to Abbey Road, North London, where a famous pop group recorded all their hits. At their first audition, they performed for a record company who told them that guitar bands were “on their way out.” The verdict on their performance (in January 1962) was: “The Beatles have no future in show business.”

All this explains Winston Churchill’s great remark that “success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”

Read the full post here.

After Setbacks, Online Courses Are Rethought, NYTimes, December 10, 2013

“To all those people who declared our experiment a failure, you have to understand how innovation works,” Thrun wrote on his blog. “Few ideas work on the first try. Iteration is key to innovation. We are seeing significant improvement in learning outcomes and student engagement. ”

Read the full NY Times article. 

 

Nelson Mandela

Sarah Walton

Co-founder and CEO, Better Way Moms

Sarah Walton

One of the hardest things for me, as a mom, is knowing that I have to turn my children over to the world. I don’t want to sometimes. There are days I would prefer to keep them tucked safely under my wings, with blankets, books and comfort food.

But of course, that’s not my job.

My job is to work myself out of a job. To teach my kids not to need me. And as much as that doesn’t sound fun, I know it’s the best thing I can do for them.

My son started second grade this year, as a happy, eager-to-learn 7-year-old. But within the first week, he’d encountered a bully, the experience of being too small (and a little too uncoordinated) to play sports with some of his friends, and kids wanting to copy his work because he’s the smartest in the class.

That’s a lot for one child to take in a week.

He came home dejected, sad and quiet. Quite different from the boy I had sent off to school a few days earlier. He would cry easily, and he seemed so upset and tired.

My instinct was so swoop in, make him feel better, and make it all go away. But again, not my job.

I constantly checked in with myself, asking what can I teach him, what can we both learn from this and how to make sure he feels loved and supported as I keep sending him back into the world each day where he will have to deal with this on his own.

Of course I listened, asked him questions, checked with the teacher to see what his 7-year-old eyes may have missed and even spoke with the principal to make sure I had the full story. Unfortunately, I did.

I happen to believe there are few accidents in life, and this story is no exception. The week that school started, a friend suggest that I read How Children Succeed by Paul Tough. Honestly, I suggest this book for every parent, and well, non-parent. It’s much more about human nature and the skills we’ll need to truly succeed than it is just about children.

The book discusses, in great detail, the importance of teaching our children grit, self-control, zest (awesome word, right?), social intelligence, gratitude, optimism and curiosity.

And here I was, faced with an opportunity to do just that with my son. This wasn’t a problem that was going to fix itself, this wasn’t something I could wish away. This was life, coming directly at my child. I felt it was my responsibility to teach him how to navigate through it, not to fix it for him. That would rob him of the opportunity to learn these skills.

Read the rest of this Huff Post blog.

 

Opening Remarks at Jewish Community’s First Fail Forward Conference, eJewish Philanthropy, by David Bryfman, December 1, 2013

When we invite people to an event they have something to say and contribute, and often it’s actually more important than anything we can present.

Last week was a very exciting week in the Bryfman household. Baby Abby took her first steps. Up, down, fall, one step, two steps, eventually three in a row, stand up, fall down, take a few more steps. Abby also touched the hot radiator last week – once. (Yes I know we should have radiator covers – they’re on back order) The point for here though, is that she touched it only once.

You see when I watch Abby, its pretty obvious that she is continually learning from her mistakes. In fact most of the time I wouldn’t even call them mistakes, its basically test, trial, fault and re-try. And like all of us we grow and develop throughout childhood by learning through the challenges that we undertake.

And then something happens. At a certain point in our lives, these mistakes are no longer tolerated. People judge us and critique our performances even though they will spout off rhetoric like – “we all learn from our experiences.”

But today, this conference is different. It’s not about a technical mistake that I may have made. It’s not about falling down or failing to order enough food for an event, or leaving out a budget line in a report. These are all mistakes – things we do and quickly learn not to repeat.

Today is about failure. Today is about when you undoubtedly, objectively, screwed something up. When you didn’t reach your goals because you assumed too much or too little – when no matter how you spin it – it was a royal f up – that f stands for failure.

(more…)

How to Protect Yourself from Failure, by Deepak Chopra MD

[This blog post is from LinkedIn.]

Setbacks in any career are inevitable, and yet some people manage to succeed despite the worst of setbacks. Their secret is that they know the difference between a setback and failure. The two aren’t the same. A setback has to leave scars before it starts to become a failure. There are ways to protect yourself from being scarred. Some of these can be applied in advance, the way you’d apply prevention before you get sick. Others can be applied after a setback has occurred. But in both cases, anyone can learn the skills that are needed.

In advance:

  • View yourself as a success, no matter what is happening.
  • Know your personal weaknesses and deal with them.
  • Address the influence of fear and anxiety.
  • Stay immersed in the details of your work.
  • Have a supportive family.
  • Participate in a supportive team atmosphere.
  • Identify with interests outside your work.
  • Develop core values.
  • Learn how to be centered. (more…)

Mentally Strong People: The 13 Things They Avoid, by Cheryl Conner on Forbes

FORBES reports that mental strength is as important or more so than physical strength and health, especially for entrepreneurs.

Read the 13 things to avoid for mental strength.

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