Tagged With failure

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Three years ago, I injured my lower back while weightlifting (and again, two times after). It was a motivational buzzkill, to say the least. I’ve struggled with having to lower weights and sometimes, have avoided the gym altogether, feeling as though I’d let myself down.

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Similar to rollerblading, cooking is not something everyone has a knack for. Also like rollerblading, cooking is something that one can learn, and a big part of learning is practice. They say fortune favours the bold, and taking on intimidating challenges will make you a better cook. (This is where I find cooking and rollerblading to diverge, as I once bruised my tailbone severely with bold rollerblading.)

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If there's a person who knows a thing or two about falling, it's Jessie Graff. But for the American Ninja Warrior phenom, the important part is getting back up. Through a new video series called Stunt Sitter, Graff teaches self-described "helicopter" parents how to let kids take risks and even - gasp - fail. We asked Graff what mums and dads can do to raise children who are resilient, confident and tough, both physically and mentally.

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It turns out that, while I am a very enthusiastic pie maker, I am not very good at it. I have seen a very wide gamut of pie failures over my baking career. Overcooked and cracked crusts, soggy bottoms, burnt edges, foul soup inside a crust -- I've been there. And this isn't as isolated as you'd think. These are all common failures in one's journey to a perfect pie, and we can learn from them. So join me, and let's get to problem solving.

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"Failure" is a major buzzword in parenting today: In order to raise successful, resilient kids, we need to let them fail. If your kid forgets his homework or his sports uniform at home, don't bring it to him. If she's struggling with building a block tower or, later on, an essay, or even later on (heaven forbid), getting to her first job on time, don't step in. Only by struggling, and sometimes failing, do kids learn exactly what they must do to succeed.

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There seems to be a lot of pressure on the home cook these days. It isn't enough to feed your family chicken breasts -- one should be feeding them free-range, organic, perfectly juicy chicken breasts that were cooked sous vide and served with vegetables you regrew from a curated selection of kitchen scraps. This perfectionist vibe is permeating food writing and the culture of home cooking, with everyone striving to churn out consistently perfect meals, night after night.

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At elite universities, faculty members have been noticing a problem. Many students, while impressive on paper, seem to be unable to cope with simple struggles -- getting assigned to a dorm room they're not thrilled with, scoring less than an A-minus on a midterm, or not making the cut on school teams. The lack of resilience has become so apparent that Smith College now offers an entire course on how to fail. (One uncomfortable class project: Having your worst failures projected onto a large screen in the campus hub. Ouch.)

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In a perfect world, nothing bad would ever happen to anybody. On the other hand, some misfortunes can help to make you a better person. All of these experiences build empathy, teach a lesson, or make you appreciate the good things in life.