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Jewish World Review Dec. 30, 2002 / 25 Teves 5763

Steve Young

Steve Young
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Using 2002ís failures to make a successful 2003




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ďLearn from the mistakes of others. You canít live long enough to make them all yourself.Ē

                      --- Eleanor Roosevelt

One can argue that 2002 was a year filled with failure. Failure of man (snipers, terrorists, Trent Lott). Failure of institutions (stock market, WorldCom, Tyco). Failure of soul (church scandal, consenting parents of suicide bombers).

One could also argue that it was a year best be over with as there is nothing good that can come from those failures. But that would be that only if we learn nothing from them.

“Obstacles remain obstacles until you use them.”

                      --- Robert South

Just like a New Yearís resolution without a plan, failure with nothing learned only breeds more failure. Itís the lessons we learn and from that the modifications we make to our lives that bring meaningful change that we can grow from. Perseverance alone does not assure growth.

“If you donít learn from your mistakes thereís no reason making them.”

                      --- Anonymous

Banging our heads against the wall over and over only teaches us that we can get a sore head. So unless we change our actions (i.e. start banging your head against a pillow, or better yet, stop banging altogether), weíll continue to get a headache.

This works with world events as well as people. Not necessarily right away. Not necessarily in a year. Or ten years. Sometimes progress is being made and you donít even notice it. Sometimes we have to change our perceptions; be open to look at and use our lives, differently.

“Just because something doesnít do what you planned, it doesnít mean that itís useless.”

                      --- Thomas Edison

There are actual techniques to turn our mistakes into success, but first we have to be willing to take a what can we learn from this meeting after every failure or mistake, rejection or adversity.

And when you have that meeting, try these steps.

1. Admit the failure. In many cases we call that ďgetting caught.Ē

In actuality, just as most of 2002ís malfeasance, failures and evil were years in the making, so are ours. But it is the recognition that these problems exist that is the first step to turning it around. The scandals in the Church have festered for years, but with church acceptance these wrongs can no longer be ignored or covered up. And the Church will be better for it.

2. Examine, review and reassess.

What went wrong? What went right? What did I learn from either? Do I need to just try again (we call that practice). Does something have to be changed in my actions. Do I know yet if what Iím trying will ever work; have I exhausted every option? Do I need a new goal? If I keep the same goal, what do I have to do different?

3. If necessary, develop a new plan. Do the research, use expertise, yours and others. Make sure the time is right. You donít want to be selling air conditioners in a snow storm. Then again, this could be time to offer a great deal.

4. Perhaps you need a new goal. Make sure itís one you can be passionate about. Make it worthwhile. Make it fill a need...or a dream.

5. Take the action. Make the effort. Do the best you can do.

And when you hit a wall...and you will, go to number one and start again.

Itíll never be a perfect world. Itís not like snipers, terrorists or maniacal despots even care about changing, and therein lies their weakness and our opportunity. The more we work to change for the better, the more uncomfortable we make it for them And if we gain nothing more...that ainít bad.

“Failure is mankindís most neglected resource.”

                      --- S. Young

If we truly want to improve our lot, we cannot forget the past, but learn to use it. Why not use yours for a wonderful 2003.



JWR contributor Steve Young, Prism Award winner and Humanitas Prize nominee for his television writing, is contributing editor at the Writers Guild of America's "Written By" magazine. He is the author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful: Mistakes, Adversity, Failure and Other Stepping Stones to Success," . the director/writer of "My Dinner With Ovitz," and opens car doors for students at his very young kids' school. His website is www.greatfailure.com. Comment by clicking here.

12/20/02: McCartney Credit Reverse Sets A Dangerous Precedent
12/18/02: Radio talk takes a surprise hit
12/16/02: Apologies running rampant: The country is in a sorry state
12/13/02: Lott apologizes for his apologies
12/09/02: FDA OKAYS "SOLARIS" FOR TREATMENT OF SLEEP APNEA
11/26/02: Finding the McTunity within their McFailure
11/15/02: Can the Dems learn from Lincoln's failures?
11/06/02: The Day After... who'll comfort me now?
11/04/02: We can all fight ageism!
10/29/02: Was I totally responsible for the market's upsurge?
10/09/02: Finding The Bull Within: Wall Street Needs To Rethink The "F" Word
10/01/02: Merriam-Webster Needs To Rethink the "F" word
09/25/02: Held up in the passing lane ... and life's other positive curve balls
09/23/02: Shrinking the waist problem: Using Good Old American Failure To Lose Inches
09/17/02: Earth to Florida: No more elections
09/11/02: The humor will return. Just not yet
09/09/02: Bush coalition on fast track
08/30/02: N'Sync's Bass gets NASA okay: Former astronauts Gagarin and Glenn form boy band
08/21/02: Insider trading...it's a good thing
08/05/02: America goes Madison Ave.: The Selling of America
07/29/02: ROCKIN' RENO: The Newest Political Strategy For Filling The Coffers
07/23/02: Is Wall Street the enemy? No, but that's where the enemy hides
07/10/02: Cooking the books
06/27/02: Apocalypse now!?
06/14/02: Coulter for the defense?
05/21/02: SUICIDE BOMBER KILLS SELF! NO ONE ELSE INJURED! Inept bomber is refused entrance into Paradise. 72 Virgins breathe sigh of relief
05/19/02: Hey world! How about trying the shoe on the other foot hypotheses
05/13/02: AM Radio and Enron
05/03/02: "Deep Throat" to Be Revealed ... But will America Swallow It!?
04/29/02: Britney Spears next in line to blast off into orbit
04/22/02: Former Liberal Seeks Conservative Book Deal
04/15/02: If you truly care about America, you'll read this column
04/01/02: My Uncle Miltie
03/27/02: The Fightin' Righties
03/20/02: Woody Allen refuses to cast self...
03/18/02: The Realies
02/19/02: Greenspan Announces Lower (Television Network) Interest Rates
02/15/02: Ken Lay sells soul to the devil: Beelzebub loses life's savings
02/12/02: Enron's Skilling mistakenly takes the Fourth, forcing him to spill his guts
02/06/02: BOOSTING THE SAGGING ECONOMY: Let Green Stamps be our financial brassiere
01/24/02: "I'M THE ONE!"
01/16/02: Goodbye "Rincoln Continental," we hardry knew ye
01/14/02: "But He Was Such A Good Boy" gene, found to be defective
01/04/02: PLAY BUZKASHI!
12/31/01: Come on war. You can do better!
12/26/01: NOT MY OSAMA!
12/24/01: TIME caves
12/20/01: Finally! Friends of Color
12/14/01: Bin Laden's Funniest Home Videos
12/10/01: What if Catching bin Laden is in dispute?
11/30/01: Back to normal...too bad
11/16/01: Osama not enough for some
11/09/01: Networks at war!
11/05/01: Bridges Over Troubled Water
10/29/01: The other terrorists
10/16/01: Diary Of A Young Defense Department Comedy Writer
10/01/01: Playlands, burgers, and family sanity
09/25/01: Dissent is walking on red, white and blue egg shells
09/21/01: OPEN LETTER THE MOST HIGH (RE: Falwell and Robertson comments)
09/17/01: Gary, we miss ya
09/10/01: Smelling out a real hero
09/04/01: Don't give up on that dream!
08/24/01: Pitch day at the Mouse
08/21/01: It Depends On What Your Definition Of "Unlimited" Is
08/06/01: IN OPEN LETTER FROM THE NEWS ORGANIZATIONS AND TALK SHOWS OF AMERICA

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© 2002, Steve Young