Just because you’re an Ivy League professor with a PhD from Harvard doesn’t mean you haven’t seen your share of failures. That’s why this academic success decided to list all the times he came up short, just to show people that no matter how smart you are, you don’t always get everything you want.
Princeton’s Johannes Haushofer points out that failure is often invisible and people only notice the successes in a person’s career. His Curriculum Vitae — or resume — of Failures is an impressive list of his deficiencies.
He figures if people only look at others’ successes, they may take their own failures too hard.
“As a result, they are more likely to attribute their own failures to themselves,” he wrote in his CV of Failures, “rather than the fact that the world is [randomly determined], applications are crapshoots, and selection committees and referees have bad days.”
He lists six degree programs he didn’t get into, three academic posts for which he was interviewed but not hired, and nine scholarships, eight grant applications, and five academic papers for which he was rejected.
Haushofer caps it all off with his “Meta-Failures” which he sums up as: “This darn CV of Failures has received way more attention than my entire body of academic work.”
Posting it to Twitter set of a chain reaction of other successful people talking about their shortcomings — and the lessons they learned.
New "publication": My CV of Failures! https://t.co/d8ot5vvynY— Johannes Haushofer (@jhaushofer) April 23, 2016
I've written my #cvoffailures and it has made me fully appreciate where I am now. Failures really lead us to interesting destinations.— Maria A Baxter (@angelxtine01) April 29, 2016
One tweet even claimed credit for creating the hashtag #CurriculumMortae — substituting the Latin word for “death” in the place of the usual “vitae,” meaning “life.”
Haushofer points out that most of what he tries, fails, and that his “CV of Failure” is a work in progress. He plans to keep adding to it and reminding people failure is all a part of eventual success.
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