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Failure Can Be Success

September 14, 2011

In a recent New York Times Article, Failure is Success, the author quotes one of the city’s leading principals as saying that kids would be better off failing at times and being given harder and harder obstacles to overcome than the ease with which we have graced their lives:

The most critical missing piece, Randolph explained as we sat in his office last fall, is character — those essential traits of mind and habit that were drilled into him at boarding school in England and that also have deep roots in American history. “Whether it’s the pioneer in the Conestoga wagon or someone coming here in the 1920s from southern Italy, there was this idea in America that if you worked hard and you showed real grit, that you could be successful,” he said. “Strangely, we’ve now forgotten that. People who have an easy time of things, who get 800s on their SAT’s, I worry that those people get feedback that everything they’re doing is great. And I think as a result, we are actually setting them up for long-term failure. When that person suddenly has to face up to a difficult moment, then I think they’re screwed, to be honest. I don’t think they’ve grown the capacities to be able to handle that.”

I think he’s completely right. We fear failing so much that we don’t realize it is only those who have learned how to overcome it that become the most successful members of society. Read the entire article.

 

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