Jewish World Review Dec. 22, 2003 / 27 Kislev 5764
2003's Great Failures, 2004's Benefits
"When one door closes, another opens."
"Problem are only opportunities in work clothes."
"What does not kill us makes us better."
Great sentiments all, but when you're in the midst of some adversity, the only person you want killed is the one who has the gall
to dare try to encourage you with some goody-goody rationale However, these oft expressed beliefs, obnoxious as we may
find them, are true, but only if you take the action to make them so.
2003 brought us a great many failures, mistakes and adversity, but in each disappointment and disaster there lie a seed of
something better. If only we would plant the seed and take the actions necessary to make it grow. It's called learning from your
mistakes. Of course, some people never learn. And if the offending party chooses not to make hay from their faux pas, that's
not to say the rest of us can't. It was Elizabeth Roosevelt who gave us another failure positive adage of which we can all take
advantage: Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself.
2003's Best Failures:
2003 Adversity: Michael Jackson dangles his son over a balcony.
What he could have learned: You don't play dangerously with children.
Did he learn?: Jackson is arrested for child abuse of someone else's son.
How we can benefit in 2004: Never let your ten-year-old child accept a sleepover invite from a forty-five year-old child
who's erased his face.
2003 Adversity: Gigli starring Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez
What could they have learned: Never make another movie where they both appear.
Did they learn? : Jersey Girl (2004)
How we can benefit in 2004: Do not let yourself or your children or your children's children buy a ticket (or even use a free
pass) to see Jersey Girl.
2003 Adversity: CBS president Les Moonves greenlights, The Reagans, an MOW that seemed to denigrate former
President Reagan unfairly and ended up had to take a financial bath by sending over to Showtime.
What could he have learned?: Never mess with a sensitive subject when it's so darn obvious that you're playing with fire, it
has no real creative justification and it's just plain asinine to air it.
Did he learn? : Michael Jackson CBS Special
How can we benefit in 2004? : Watch HBO.
2003 Adversity: It is revealed that Bill Bennett, author of "Book of Virtues" gambled away millions of dollars.
What he could have learned: People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
Did he learn?: He defended this particular sin was not one of the sins he spoke out against.
How we can benefit in 2004?: Learn that the loftier the pedestal the more painful the fall (and it wouldn't hurt to build your
house with a minimal amount of glass).
2003 Adversity: Bill O'Reilly and Fox sue Al Franken for using Bill's likeness and Fox's "Fair and Balanced" slogan.
What he could have learned: Let sleeping dogs lie, especially the ones eating out your insides.
Did he learn?: He then blasted NPR's Terry Gross for interviewing him unfairly causes Gross's "Fresh Air" ratings through
How we can benefit in 2004: Anyone planning to write a book only needs to add a chapter castigating Bill O'Reilly so that he
makes it a talking point, or G-d-willing, forces Fox News to sue you. Should work for children's picture's books too: I'll get
See Al ridicule Bill.
See Bill get red.
See Bill get real red.
See Bill sue.
See Al's book go to number one on Amazon.
See Al smile on the way to the bank.
JWR contributor Steve Young, Prism Award winner and Humanitas Prize nominee for his
television writing, is film
correspondent for BBC radio.
He is the author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful: Mistakes, Adversity, Failure and
Other Stepping Stones to Success," "The 130 Tales of Winchell Mink," Harper Collins (Winter, 2003) and the director/writer of "My Dinner With Ovitz."
His website is www.greatfailure.com.
Comment by clicking here.
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© 2002, Steve Young