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A Letter to My Son About Failure

Karate

Hey buddy,

I can still picture the excitement on your face when I came to pick you up from your karate lesson tonight.

“Get your phone ready, I’m going to break a brick!” you said.

I admit, on the inside I was a little worried that you wouldn’t be able to do it, but you’ve surprised me in the past when you’ve broken through really thick boards.

I can still picture the determination in your eyes as you positioned yourself behind the brick, took a deep breath and, with a yell, brought your fist down as hard and fast as you could. The brick didn’t break that time. Or the next time. Or the next.

I watched with sadness in my heart as you fought back tears and walked to the side of the group.…

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20 Reasons Why Intelligent People Fail

Intelligent Failure Woman

This is a really interesting list from Robert Sternberg’s book,

In Search of the Human Mind

1. Lack of motivation. A talent is irrelevant if a person is not motivated to use it. Motivation may be external (for example, social approval) or internal (satisfaction from a job well-done, for instance). External sources tend to be transient, while internal sources tend to produce more consistent performance.

2. Lack of impulse control. Habitual impulsiveness gets in the way of optimal performance. Some people do not bring their full intellectual resources to bear on a problem but go with the first solution that pops into their heads.

3. Lack of perserverance and perseveration. Some people give up too easily, while others are unable to stop even when the quest will clearly be fruitless.…

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Whipping the Sea – Where Do You Place the Blame?

XerxesIn 483 BC the king of Persia, a man named Xerxes set out to conquer the Greek mainland. (You may remember Xerxes as the main bad guy from the movie “300”). Xerxes attacked Greece to avenge the failure of his father, Darius, who lost a major battle against the Greeks at a place called Marathon about a decade earlier.

In order to get his army over to Greece by land he had to build a bridge over a strait of water called the Hellespont. His engineers started construction on the bridge but before it was finished, a terrible storm came and destroyed all the progress they had made. Xerxes was so upset at what happened that he had every engineer beheaded then sent soldiers down to the banks of the strait and actually had them whip the sea 300 times for its failure to obey him and comply with his plans.…

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Why Perfectionists Are Often the Biggest Failures

perfectionismA few years ago on a college campus, a ceramics professor decided to try an experiment on one of his classes. At the start of the semester he divided the class into two groups and explained that each group would be graded differently.

Group 1 would be graded on the total number of pots they could create throughout the semester, with a minor importance given to quality.

Group 2 would be graded on just one pot. They had all semester to work on just one pot so they better make it impressive.

At the end of the semester, the students all turned in their work for grading. To the professor’s amusement, the 5 highest quality pots all came from the group who was focused on quantity over quality.

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Get In the Pool! Overcoming the Fear of Failure

Get in the pool

Summer is here and in Arizona it means some really hot weather. Those of us who live here spend time moving from an air-conditioned house to an air-conditioned car to the air-conditioned store and back again. Or we end up in a swimming pool.

As soon as our kids are out of school, they start swim team. Every morning they go to one of the public pools for an hour and work on their swim strokes. Then, every Thursday night is the swim meet, where they can compete for a ribbon.

My oldest son is a really good swimmer. He learned to swim really young and he is just a natural in the water.

He also has a tough time wanting to go and compete.

He feels most comfortable staying at home where his world is predictable and there is little fear of failure.…

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