There's No Success Like Failure: Why You Need to Learn to Sing the Blues
Whether you're aware of it or not, your unconscious insecurities hold you back, and you need to be able to construct your failure narrative if you hope to reach your true potential.
Robert S. Kaplan is president and chief executive of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Previously, he was the Senior Associate Dean for External Relations and Martin Marshall Professor of Management Practice in Business Administration at Harvard Business School. He is also co-chairman of Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, a global venture philanthropy firm, as well as chairman and a founding partner of Indaba Capital Management. Before joining Harvard in 2005, Kaplan was vice chairman of the Goldman Sachs Group with responsibilities for Global Investment Banking and Investment Management.
He has written several books on leadership and goal development, including ‘What You’re Really Meant To Do: A Road Map For Reaching Your Unique Potential’ published by Harvard Business Review Press. You can read his most recent essay here.
In his book, What You're Really Meant to Do: A Roadmap for Reaching Your Unique Potential, Robert Kaplan offers a practical guide to help people filter out conventional wisdom and peer pressure to get to know who they really are.
But that will only get you so far, Kaplan says. The next important step you need to take is tell your own story. What does that mean? Literally write down the facts of your own life, like the way your biography would appear on Wikipedia. For instance:
Bob Dylan (pron.: /ˈdɪlən/; born Robert Allen Zimmerman; May 24, 1941) is an American musician, singer-songwriter, music producer, artist, and writer.
The next step is to attach a narrative to that story. In other words, put a spin on it:
He has been an influential figure in popular music and culture for more than five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was an informal chronicler and a seemingly reluctant figurehead of social unrest.
Kaplan says we tend to be taught to put together success narratives, that is to say, we frame our autobiographies in terms of how we have prevailed. And yet, there is another essential narrative that you need to be able to construct. And this one is not a happy story. Kaplan advises you to write down your failure narrative, focusing on setbacks.
To keep with the Dylan analogy, we could point to, for instance, the artistic maturity and self-awareness he expressed in documenting excruciating romantic failures in the 1975 album Blood on the Tracks.
Whether you're aware of it or not, you have a number of insecurities in your head that tell you things like "I'm not good enough." In the video below, Kaplan points out that these unconscious insecurities hold you back, and you need to become aware of your failure narrative if you hope to reach your true potential.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Scientists have developed new ways of understanding how the biological forces of death drive important life processes.
- Researchers have found new ways on how decomposing plants and animals contribute to the life cycle.
- After a freak mass herd death of 300 reindeer, scientists were able to study a wide range of the decomposition processes.
- Promoting the necrobiome research will open up new areas of inquiry and even commerce.
What do we see from watching birds move across the country?
- A total of eight billion birds migrate across the U.S. in the fall.
- The birds who migrate to the tropics fair better than the birds who winter in the U.S.
- Conservationists can arguably use these numbers to encourage the development of better habitats in the U.S., especially if temperatures begin to vary in the south.
Explore how alcohol affects your brain, from the first sip at the bar to life-long drinking habits.
- Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
- Alcohol's effects on the brain range from temporarily limiting mental activity to sustained brain damage, depending on levels consumed and frequency of use.
- Understanding how alcohol affects your brain can help you determine what drinking habits are best for you.
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