Three of my four siblings are coming to visit early next week so that was the impetus for me to go through a stack of magazines and move some to the recycling bin. My decluttering project slowed down, however, when I came across some articles I hadn’t yet read. Three of them were worth passing along to you. Happily, you can find them all online.

The October 13 issue of Newsweek had a special feature on women leaders. My favorite article was movie director Kimberly Peirce’s piece To Make It Big in Hollywood, You Start With a Good Story. What caught my attention is what she says about fear being part of the creative process. Pierce says, “Fear is part of creativity, whatever your job is. It’s part of believing in something and wanting it to happen. So I let it in and I say to myself, ‘OK, you’re scared.’ And then when something works out, I say, ‘Wow! You were scared!'” I’m going to remember that.

The big article goldmine I uncovered is in the September issue of Ode magazine, which always has thought-provoking articles. This issue is especially rich. For starters, there’s retired teach John Taylor Gatto’s piece called Childhood’s End which eloquently discusses why our schools are failing us. I think it’s important for anyone who has come through the school system in the last fifty years or so to understand the philosophy that has driven education. 

Gatto ends the article by issuing a call to arms to parents. He says, “School trains children to be employees and consumers; teach your own to be leaders and adventurers…Well-schooled kids have a low threshold for boredom; help your own to develop an inner life so they’ll never be bored.” 

I also love Gatto’s observation that “genius is as common as dirt.” I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the piece since I read it and am going to track down his book Weapons of Mass Instruction.

I urge you to read–immediately–Ode’s cover story, In Praise of Failure. It includes wonderful quotes from J.K. Rowling’s commencement address at Harvard. While we’ve all heard stories about people who ultimately succeeded after years of failure, this article points out, in the clearest possible way, why success is impossible if we resist failure. In fact, it reminds us that if our energy is devoted to NOT FAILING, we end up in mediocrity. 

Every entrepreneur should have this article at their fingertips to read again and again.

Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. ~ J.K. Rowling

No Responses to “On Fear and Failure”

  1. Barbara Winter

    Thanks for the tip, Jane. I will certainly take a look. Gladwell is such a fine storyteller and I always enjoy his thoughts. Barbara

  2. Barbara Winter

    Thanks for the tip, Jane. I will certainly take a look. Gladwell is such a fine storyteller and I always enjoy his thoughts. Barbara

  3. Karen

    I read your book “How To Make A Living Without A Job” a coupld of years ago. My daughter gave it to me. I learned a lot from that book, and can’t thank you enough for writing it. Since reading it, I have gained the courage to become a freelance writer, and while I am NOT getting rich from my efforts, I have gotten richer in my life because of it. Can’t thank you enough.

  4. Karen

    I read your book “How To Make A Living Without A Job” a coupld of years ago. My daughter gave it to me. I learned a lot from that book, and can’t thank you enough for writing it. Since reading it, I have gained the courage to become a freelance writer, and while I am NOT getting rich from my efforts, I have gotten richer in my life because of it. Can’t thank you enough.

  5. Shante'

    Thank you so much for sharing these articles. I was moved by all of them and shared Gatto’s piece with my local mother’s group.

  6. Shante'

    Thank you so much for sharing these articles. I was moved by all of them and shared Gatto’s piece with my local mother’s group.

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