You can learn from failure


It was almost jarring,” said Carrie Lee Lancaster, 20, a rising junior. “On our campus, everything can feel like such a competition, I think we get caught up in this idea of presenting an image of perfection. So to see these failures being talked about openly, for me I sort of felt like, ‘O.K., this is O.K., everyone struggles.’”

The presentation is part of a new initiative at Smith, “Failing Well,” that aims to “destigmatize failure.” With workshops on impostor syndrome, discussions on perfectionism, as well as a campaign to remind students that 64 percent of their peers will get (gasp) a B-minus or lower, the program is part of a campuswide effort to foster student “resilience,” to use a buzzword of the moment.

Everyone Fails. Here’s How to Pick Yourself Back Up. – Guides – The New York Times

Carol Dweck, a psychology professor at Stanford, calls this the “fixed mindset” — the belief that failure is a dead end instead of a stop on the road to improvement. What you want to have instead of a fixed mindset is a  “growth mindset” — the ability to see failure as an opportunity to learn. 

I advise my students to ask themselves the following questions when they’re hesitant to take a risk:

  • What’s the worst that can happen?
  • Then, can you deal with that outcome? What resources do you have to handle it?
  • What are some possible benefits of your failure, even if the situation doesn’t

How anxiety can be useful

J 1947, W. H. Auden published an obscure poem called “The Age of Anxiety” — a title that has resonated through the years as a perfect distillation of the uncertainties of contemporary living. Perhaps we’re hearing that phrase even more often these days, as the United States has come to be known as the most anxious nation on Earth. As of late 2017, almost 20% of American adults had been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder over the preceding year. The lifetime prevalence of anxiety disorders in the American population is even higher, at over 31%. Several studies suggest that anxiety has been on the rise over the past few years, too: the American Psychiatric Association recently released a poll showing that our anxiety increased measurably between 2016 and 2017, and again between 2017 and 2018

When that cat  caressed you  with its claw

cats and newspapers
Art by Katherine

Sitting in  a garden down in Kent
A  cat climbed on  your knee  though it was Lent
They should be “fasting”  like the Christians do
Unless that little cat was a  born a Jew

Christians do not fast in more than name
For this deception,  who can   heaven blame?
The Muslims and the Jews  fast from all food
But cats and   heathen people  eat and chew

They drink no water,eat no bread nor meat
Thus their Fasting  is  from animals complete

Their minds receive   perceptions as you saw
When that cat  caressed you  with its  claw

Take another standpoint  once a week
In the garden,  cats may bite your feet

The Lune runs like old tears

I breath as softly as a little bird
Like the robin did in Arnside Wood
Quick yet calm, who for some food would dare.

The view from Arnside Knot is  broad and fair
The atmosphere is  pure, we see trains chug
The Estuary of the Kent will never bore

Further South the Lune runs like  old tears
Morecambe Bay endangers, how it floods
Behind the Pennines rise,   the edges  fierce

Dent is ancient, mobile phones won’t dare
To penetrate  the  music of  its blood
Nor bring   their tones to hurt the mad March hare

Hutton Roof , cathedral, how we stared
A gentle hand caressed my heart to good
Meek flowers grew in the cracks  as safe,as  pure

How my heart expands  and I am glad
For mourning heals and  I am no more sad
I breath as softly as a little bird
I tiptoe on the path  the peace is shared