Monday, February 15, 2010


For the past couple of years I have been working on a book titled "DARE TO FAIL: the risk factor of success"
When I teach, the first thing I always write on the blackboard is this observation.

"There are no lessons in success. All the lessons are in failure -- if we are willing to learn from our mistakes."

This is one brief chapter from that book.


Wall Street is a rat race. Madison Avenue is a rat race. Park Avenue is a rat race. Seventh Avenue is a rat race.Hey, let's go to the races!Let's go to the three-legged race. When I was a kid at camp back in the 1940s, we sang songs around the campfire and roasted marshmallows on a stick. We swam in the lake and paddled canoes. And we had three-legged races. That's a race where two campers have one of their legs tied to one of another camper's legs creating two campers with three legs. Depending on how mismatched the campers are in height, weight, and skill makes the race that much more fun. The more extreme the mismatch the bigger the laughs. This is one game where winning is not half as exciting as running the race itself. This is the perfect example of there only being lessons in failure because running a three-legged race is all about co-operation, overcoming obstacles, and compensating for differences. Pretty good life skills.Most of the players in the various rat races would do a lot better if they had run more three-legged races. I have many fond memories of the hundreds of three-legged races I participated in during my otherwise misspent youth. I was a tall, fat kid with poor co-ordination and that made me a great learning experience for my partners because we failed a lot more often than we succeeded. But when we learned from our failures it made success that much sweeter. The three-legged race was important to me for another reason; I'm an only child and sharing and co-operation and compensating were skills I desperately needed to learn and I learned them tied to the leg of a fellow camper. Now, when I'm in a relationship, I apply all of those lessons I learned at camp because all relationships are really three-legged and in order to succeed you have to risk being tied together--you have to dare to fail together.I want you to think about the successful relationships you know and think about how those two people interact. Is one running ahead alone with the other desperately trying to keep up? Is one dragging the other? Or pushing the other?Or are they tied together, co-operating with each other, overcoming obstacles, and compensating for their differences. Are they daring to risk failure together so that they can share success together.