Home
In this issue
April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct 17, 2011 / 19 Tishrei, 5772

How we succeed by failing

By Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | By the time Steve Jobs’s Wikipedia page had been adjusted to past tense, eulogists had added a footnote to his biography of success. Failure.

Jobs, though wildly successful, also failed often and badly. Therein, we note, lies perhaps the larger lesson of his life: Sometimes you have to fail to succeed.

The truth is, you usually have to fail to succeed. No one emerges at the top. Even those born lucky eventually get a turn on the wheel of misfortune. Anyone with a résumé of accomplishments also has a résumé of failures, humiliations and setbacks. Jobs was fired by the company he co-founded. Yet it was during this period of exile that he picked up a little computer graphics company later called Pixar Animation Studios, the sale of which made him a billionaire.

This is to say, to fail is human. To resurrect oneself is an act of courage.

Jobs himself recognized his failures in a now-famous 2005 commencement speech at Stanford. He recalled sleeping on the floors of friends’ dorm rooms and walking seven miles to a Hare Krishna temple for his one good meal of the week. One needn’t make an appointment with the Genius Bar to glean the moral of this story.

Fear of failure isn’t only an adult concern. From an early age, we are plagued with anxiety about performance. This seems a natural-enough evolutionary development. The strong and savvy survive (and get the girl). The less accomplished eat scraps and enjoy the company of human leftovers. “Losers,” we call them. So habitual is our attention to failure that we even have a word — or at least the Germans do — for enjoying others’: schadenfreude.

What possibly could make us take pleasure in another’s failure? Simple. We love the company.

A history of human failure would make for a long and interesting read, yet we prefer books about success. We thrill at the end-zone victory dance, applaud the extra point, admire the perfect 10. In literature, what is redemption but recovery from human failing? We love no one more than the man or woman who says I made a mistake, I’m sorry, please forgive me. Forgive? We want to hoist the penitent on our shoulders.

An entire lexicon of cliches has evolved around the idea of failure and recovery. It’s not the thing attained that matters; it’s the journey that gives us life. The act of creation — the struggle — far exceeds the pleasure of the thing created. Unless, of course, it’s an Apple iPhone 4S. BlackBerry? Not so much.

Recent acknowledgment of the power of failure, inspired by Jobs’s too-soon demise, provides a welcome spiritual uplift for stressed-out adults. But we’re missing an even more important morality tale that has profound consequences for our nation’s future. Our obsession with success and our fear of failure has trickled down to ever-younger humans, our children, at great cost not only to their psychological well-being but also, ultimately, to our ability to compete in the global marketplace.

We’re so afraid that our kids won’t measure up that we drive them crazy with overbooked schedules and expectations and then create a sense of entitlement by insisting on assigning blame elsewhere when their performance is lackluster. Sideline parents, first cousins to back-seat drivers, who challenge coaches, teachers and umpires on behalf of their children are a relatively new development that can’t be considered positive. When I wrote recently about the failure (there’s that word again) of colleges to teach core curricula that engender critical thinking skills, dozens of professors wrote to complain of students who aren’t willing to work hard (or show up) yet still expect good grades. Even in college, they said, parents pester professors for better marks for their little darlings.

In another famous commencement address, J.K. Rowling’s to Harvard in 2008, the “Harry Potter” author eulogized her own valuable failures. “Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations,” she said. “Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way.”

If we agree that wisdom, confidence and a better Apple are gifts of failure, then why are we so afraid to allow our children to experience it? In a culture where failure is not well-enough understood as necessary to growth — and accomplishment is diminished by a code of equal outcomes that enshrines entitlement — then no one gets wiser or better. And a nation populated by such people may not survive.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.

Kathleen Parker Archives

<

© 2011, WPWG

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles