Better to “Fail with Style” than “Celebrate Mediocrity”

This came from a discussion with a friend about how some people cannot cope with losing nowadays. They don't want to work any harder, they just want to win. The problem is some elements of the government and society are trying give people their wish and make this happen.

There's a great bit in The Incredibles film where they talk about this. They use the phrase "celebrate mediocrity" which about sums it up.

Helen: I can't believe you don't want to go to your own son's graduation.

Bob: It's not a graduation. He is moving from the 4th grade to the 5th grade.

Helen: It's a ceremony!

Bob: It's psychotic! They keep creating new ways to celebrate mediocrity, but if someone is genuinely exceptional...

If you turn everyone into a winner then no one is a winner. You devalue the whole concept of winning. Perhaps the problem is we don't teach people how to compete anymore. Winning is good, but that doesn't make failing to win bad. You just have to fail with style. From another Pixar film - Toy Story - at the end Buzz Lightyear says "This isn't flying. This is falling with style!" If you fail with style then perhaps in reality you win.

Spookly enough they were kinda talking about this on the radio this morning. The A level results are out this morning and a lot of people are going to be disappointed about not getting a place at university because of the cutbacks. Someone raised the very valid point that part of this has been caused by the government trying to send everyone to university. It used to be very competitive to get a place at university, then they went through the phase when it seemed as if they were trying to send everyone in the country to university. Very commendable, but it's not going to make everyone brighter. It's politically incorrect to say this but some people are brighter than others. You send the bright ones to university, you don't send the others. Raise the bar again. Make going to university something to be desired, to be worked for, to be earned and if that means only the top 10% go (as it used to be) then so be it.

BUT

The point most people miss is this doesn't make people who go to university better, just different. Who's the best out of a Noble prize winning physicist and a Australian Aborigine? That depends if your in CERN or the middle of the Australian outback. If it's the middle of the Australian outback I know which one I'd rather be with, and it's not the one wearing the lab coat. So by all means help people to reach their maximum potential, whatever that potential is, just don't assume it's gonna be the same for everyone.

So your challenge for today is go out and give something a try, give it your best shot ... and if you fail with style your still a winner as far as I'm concerned :-)


“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” - Winston Churchill

Header image credit: dimitrisvetsikas1969/Pixabay



Jamie Whitehorn

Jamie Whitehorn

A self proclaimed geek who loves technology, data, computers, photography and science; but balances this by spending time with his wonderful better half and their dogs and horses in the countryside.

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