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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Upside of Failure: Lessons from Korea

The Upside of Failure: "
Honda offers a series of videos about high risk efforts, including “The Upside of Failure” featuring Danica Patrick. It’s a great example of how high performers turn failure into success. The main message it that success rarely happens on one's first chance to perform, rather it is the end-product of multiple failures and persistence.  Are you going to quit on your students the first time something goes wrong? Let me share a little story from my most recent trip to Korea:
Netzteile/Steckernetzteile ("Wandwarzen&q...Image via WikipediaThe next morning, I was supposed to demo the Wii when all of a sudden I heard a popping sound.  My power supply overheated!!  Now what the hell am I going to do in downtown Seoul without a main cog for our presentation.  Even if I found a new power supply, could I be assured that the main unit wasn't fried?  Would I have to buy a new one here = and if I did would it even work in the US?

I scrambled around and got the concierge to direct me to the largest electronics market in Korea.  Let me say I was in techno heaven for a couple of hours. So in my large Korean vocabulary set of 50 baby words I set out to find what I needed. Grabbed a taxi and 15 minutes later I as exploring vast rows of tents, little shops and large gallerias of gadgets, computers, games and cables. Check out the Korean version of an Android iPad-killer...and I thought my Droid was big.

If you've seen my lab with all the cables and parts, you would know how much I love tech gear. The first dozen or shops keep telling me "NO POWER SUPPLY, MUST BUY NEW WII".  I just had a feeling that it couldn't be that hard.  So I keep looking and hit a small little booth of a shop with a young guy that as soon as I showed him what I needed he went and grabbed the right power supply.  Imagine what its like to not speak the language and tell them things you need and want. He runs off to get what I hope is the right thing and tells me as he's leaving "Please, wait." and points to a stool by his booth.  Well of course the power supply comes back with is a 220 volt Korea adapter, and that's no good in the US, so I show him the plug and somehow I get across the point that I need  the US plug adapter so that it can work at home. Well in a couple of seconds, he runs around the corner to buy the parts from another vendor and comes back with all the parts (in theory) that will make my unit run again.  But remember, I'm not even sure my unit isn't fried. So the moment arrives to test it out and I am in pins and needles ----- it works.  I pay him 25,000 Korean Won ($20) and my day just got better.

Why did I tell you this? Simply to say that you never let anyone or situation get in the way of what you need and want to accomplish. So you forget a thing or 2 on your C9, you may even have forgotten to get to a challenge or intratask variation....big deal. If you let one little or even big group of problems throw you off track, are you going to GIVE UP ON YOU DREAMS? STUDENTS? Are all of your lessons going to be perfect? 


Rockers go on with the show and always give it their ALL for their audience (AKA students).

Rock on my friends and don't ever give up on your dreams, your students or yourselves!
Failure: The Secret to Success

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