GIFT OF FAILURE WEEK: DAY 1: No one, absolutely no one likes to fail at something. Your basketball team is behind two points. You are fouled while shooting and only two seconds left in the game. The win is up to you, or is it? If you miss the free throws are you a failure? Is the only important part of a basketball game the last two seconds, or is it how each person plays as a team throughout the entire game?
If it is only the last two seconds, why play the rest of the game? And... if you miss the free throws, will that make you want to really practice free throw shooting for the upcoming games? Hmmmm. This week we will be talking about the "gift" of failure. YES. Failure can be a wonderful gift.
Oprah Winfrey told a graduating class from Harvard, “There is no such thing as failure — failure is just life trying to move us in another direction." So... get ready to see failure in a new, an entirely new way!
CREATIVE THINKING SKILLS: STEVE JOBS, FOUNDER OF APPLE "You've got to be willing to fail. If you are afraid of failing you won't get very far."
CREATIVE THINKING SKILL - OPRAH WINFREY "There is no such thing as failure --failure is just life trying to move us in another direction."
DAY 2: PERFECTIONISM? Before we can truly understand why failure bothers us so much, we need to understand why we try to be perfect --a human being who never makes mistakes. Here is what it looks like: * Do you avoid trying new things for fear of failure * Do you put off work and leave it unfinished, fearing it won't be good enough * When you get back a paper do you focus on mistakes, rather than on what you did well * Do you set impossible goals for yourself and then blame yourself when don't achieve them * Do you have trouble accepting criticism? Criticism is when another person makes suggestions on how you can do something better. * Do you find it hard to laugh at yourself when you mess up All those things suggest you are trying to be perfect --and no one is that. All those things suggest you see mistakes, as NOT a gift, but as proof you are a failure.
SO WHAT IS THE TRUTH?
* Who you are will always be more important to others than what you can do * Mistakes are a normal part of learning. If you aren't making any mistakes... guess what? You are NOT learning. * Goals are good, but shouldn't be impossible. Back to our basketball analogy from yesterday... If you have a goal that says, "I will sink every free throw I have in a game --that is trying to be perfect. It is better for your goal to be, "I will practice shooting free throws 15 minutes every day. * Achieving goals and learning to do new things takes place in small steps and requires time. After all, a baby has to sit up, then crawl, before it learns to walk. * All famous people made mistakes. Read biographies and discover about the challenges of those who seem perfect, but never were. * Be proud of yourself when you take risks or overcome obstacles. * Laugh at yourself. Every single teacher you have still makes mistakes, don't they? We were never meant to be perfect. Think how terribly boring it would be if we were. No feeling of accomplishment after finally learning a new skill. No joy in the long road to realizing a dream.
CREATIVE THINKING SKILL: Perfectionism isn't as perfect as it seems..
LINK ...These ballet dancers poke fun at perfectionism in a way everyone can understand! Who hasn't messed up? Hear the laughter?
DAY 3: MISTAKES THAT WORKED! Thousands of inventions were mistakes! Yes, not all inventions followed the rule-of-thumb of identifying a problem, outlining a solution, testing a solution, and marketing the product. Many every-day objects that we deem “brilliant” were things discovered by mistake. So, keep your eyes open for the possibilities, and take a hint from these amazing inventors. They were able to recognize something that would work in other ways, and create some amazing inventions that have lasted through the test of time.
In the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri two vendors stood next to one another – one was serving zalabia; a crisp pastry cooked in a hot waffle-patterned press, and the other was serving ice cream. The climate was hot and the ice cream vendor soon ran out of cups to serve his ice cream. The vendor next to him rolled up his waffle into a cone-shape, and topped it with the ice cream. It was a hit! The waffle vendor was Ernest A. Hamwi. Although this story is the most accepted version of the ice cream cone invention, 6 months earlier, an Italian pushcart vendor in New York City named Italo Marchiony sold lemon ice in a cone. He received a patent for a mold for making pastry cups to hold ice cream (not the actual cone) in December, 1903 – 6 months before the World’s fair.
In 1905, 11-yr-old Frank Epperson invented the Popsicle by accident. A popular drink back then was mixing soda water powder and water. He mixed some and left the mixture on the back porch overnight with his stirring stick still in it. The temperature dropped to a record low that night, and the next day he had a stick of frozen soda water to show his friends. Eighteen years later in 1823, Frank Epperson remembered his frozen soda water mixture and began a business producing frozen drinks on a stick in 7 fruit flavors at Neptune Beach, an amusement park in Alameda, California. He received a patent for the “Epsicle Ice Pop”. The name was later changed to the Popsicle at his kid’s request. In 1925, Epperson sold the rights to the Popsicle to the Joe Lowe Company of New York. In 1989, Good Humor bought the rights. Over 3 million Popsicles are sold each year. There are more than 30 different flavors. The favorite is still orange.
CREATIVE THINKING SKILL: FLEXIBILITY "I have not failed, I have just found 1000 ways that won't work." (Thomas Edison)
DAY 4: MORE MISTAKES THAT TURNED OUT GREAT The first tea bag patents date back to 1903. The first tea bags were made from hand-sewn silk muslin bags. One story of its invention revolves around Thomas Sullivan, an American coffee and tea merchant. He sent samples of his products to his customer. The samples were packed in cans until one day, he decided it would be less expensive to send the tea samples in small, hand-sewn silk bags. The orders then began pouring in, not for his tea, but for his tea bags which made brewing a cup of tea easier. Today tea bags are usually made of heat-sealed paper fiber invented. Over half the tea consumed in American homes is made with tea bags.
The most popular story about the invention of potato chips is about a chef named George Crum. In 1853, George Crum was a chef in Saratoga Springs, New York, when a customer kept sending his plate of fried potatoes back to the kitchen asking that they be sliced thinner, and fried longer. George, irritated by the customer, sliced the potatoes very thin, fried them till they were curly crisps, and salted them. Instead of being angered by the potatoes, the customer asked for more. Word spread quickly. By the early 1900s they were known as Saratoga Chips, named after the town where they were introduced. Today over 816 million pounds of potato chips are consumed in the United States each year.
Have you ever walked through a field and then had to spend many minutes pulling off the burrs stuck to your clothing? This is what happened to George de Mestral, a Swiss engineer, in the 1940s. He took the cockleburs from his jacket and examined them under a microscope to find a maze of thin strands with hooks on the ends. He saw the possibility of binding two materials reversibly in a simple fashion with hooks and loops. It took him ten years of experimenting, developing the product of two strips of nylon fabric. One contains thousands of small hooks and the other contains small loops. When they are pressed together, they form a strong bond. Some countries call this the “hook-and-loop fastener” and in the United States it is called Velcro. It was not popularly adopted until NASA used it on space suits. There are thousands of uses for Velcro thanks to George Mestral who, instead of being irritated by burrs, found them fascinating.
CREATIVE THINKING SKILL: TRANSFORM Use your creativity to transform an irritation into a really good thing.