The other morning, I was thinking about one my goals for this year: Failing with Grace. I don’t think that’s quite right; I think it should be: Failing into Grace.
Sometimes, I feel as though my life is like a beach ball. I’m walking along the beach, between the crashing waves and the rocks, carrying my beach ball. Most of the time, I hold on the beach ball because I’m afraid of loosing it in the water.
Every once in a while, though, I’ll toss up my beach ball. The reasons vary. Sometimes out of frustration, sometimes to see what happens, sometimes because I want to. Whatever the reason, I really think I need to let go of my beach ball more often and trust that God (the prevailing Wind) keeps it out of the water. For the times that I do trust God, I’m usually pleasantly surprised at the outcome.
And for the times I’m not, fail with grace.
I’m posting this because I agree with them and because I want to remember them. I especially like number 6 (about failing), and it’s been part of my unofficial New Years Resolution to fail gracefully more. This is author Nassim Nicholas Taleb list of top life tips:
- Scepticism is effortful and costly. It is better to be sceptical about matters of large consequences, and be imperfect, foolish and human in the small and the aesthetic.
- Go to parties. You can’t even start to know what you may find on the envelope of serendipity. If you suffer from agoraphobia, send colleagues.
- It’s not a good idea to take a forecast from someone wearing a tie. If possible, tease people who take themselves and their knowledge too seriously.
- Wear your best for your execution and stand dignified. Your last recourse against randomness is how you act – if you can’t control outcomes, you can control the elegance of your behaviour. You will always have the last word.
- Don’t disturb complicated systems that have been around for a very long time. We don’t understand their logic. Don’t pollute the planet. Leave it the way we found it, regardless of scientific ‘evidence’.
- Learn to fail with pride – and do so fast and cleanly. Maximise trial and error – by mastering the error part.
- Avoid losers. If you hear someone use the words ‘impossible’, ‘never’, ‘too difficult’ too often, drop him or her from your social network. Never take ‘no’ for an answer (conversely, take most ‘yeses’ as ‘most probably’).
- Don’t read newspapers for the news (just for the gossip and, of course, profiles of authors). The best filter to know if the news matters is if you hear it in cafes, restaurants… or (again) parties.
- Hard work will get you a professorship or a BMW. You need both work and luck for a Booker, a Nobel or a private jet.
- Answer e-mails from junior people before more senior ones. Junior people have further to go and tend to remember who slighted them.
The TimeOnline also did a great article that’s worth a read: Nassim Nicholas Taleb: the prophet of boom and doom.