It seems that we are no longer allowed to fail at anything. Everyone gets a participation trophy or a medal these days. Sounding too much like my parents I’ll say ‘when I was a kid this wasn’t the case’ but that isn’t entirely true. We were getting trophies each year in little league baseball even if our teams finished in last place – I forget what they said because I never put much stock in them but probably something like ‘finisher’ or ‘participation’ so I guess this mentality did start during my childhood. However, I don’t remember kids being quite as fragile as they seem these days where egos are as fragile as a carton of eggs.
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”
– Paulo Coelho, Aleph
The CEO of Groupon was fired the other day and he wrote one of the better ‘send off’ letters I’ve read. He wasn’t outwardly upset about failing, although personally I’m sure it crushed him inside. Being a CEO of a company that went public a few years ago amongst a crazy amount of hype – he was living the dream. He turned down billions to purchase the company when Google and others tried to buy Groupon out – in hindsight this seems like a pretty stupid decision. However through it all and in reading through to the tone of his letter he understands that failing at this isn’t a reflection on his ability to do anything for the rest of his life. We all have failed at some point in our lives and if we haven’t then we aren’t trying hard enough. If you don’t push your limits, I suppose you could go your whole life without failing but what is the fun in that? You will progress at a turtle’s pace in what is a short time in this crazy life. I know I have a lot of failures in my future and while I’ll be disappointed each time I won’t not get up and keep playing the game. Kids need to be taught to dust themselves off and get back up.
Photo of the Day – The Headless Saint
One of my favorite pieces on the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was of the headless saint – Saint Denis. The story goes that Denis had his head chopped off for being a Christian on Montemarte Hill in Paris. Following the beheading he picked up his head and walked ten miles preaching the hole way. Now whether or not that happened is debatable but it makes for an interesting story.