討論逐字稿 Embracing Failure

Today we're talking about Embracing Failure. We start by talking about learning to ride a bike, learning to speak a foreign language.

Let's first talk about riding a bike. How did you learn to ride a bike, what was the process?
Just do it!
I started with the training wheels.
Me too.
When did you lose the training wheels and just start biking?
I can't remember the actual.
Do you remember how you felt ready enough to take them off?
I didn't start with the training wheels, just rode it.
But there's a point at which you learn to balance, how did that happen?
No idea, it just happened.
For me too.
My mom, or my father stand behind me, to try to help me balance.
Did they walk along holding the bike?
And sometimes they just let go, and rode, and it just worked.
My grandfather would hold the bike at first and then he would let go but hold his arm out like he was holding it, and then he would tell you that he let go, and you would realise that you'd been doing it yourself. Then you would freak out and fall over, but it was about building confidence.
Yeah, same thing.

But when you very very first got on the bike with those training wheels, what did you feel?
I felt I would not fall over.
So it gave you confidence?
Why did you want to learn to ride a bike?
It was a cool thing, when we were young.
When I was young I started with the three wheels.
Yes, I had a tricycle too, they were cute.
I wanted to start because my sister, she learned how to bike, and so I was forced to learn.
Why?
Because I'm the older one!
How much younger is your sister?
She is five years younger.
I can see the pressure.
Like, I learned how to ride the motorcycle, because my younger sister and younger brother both can.
My younger sister never learned to ride a bike. She can't ride a bike, she can't ride a motorcycle, she can't drive a car.
Because she is younger than you!
She doesn't want to learn.
Yeah, in my neighborhood, if you didn't have a bike you couldn't go anywhere. You couldn't go to the pool!
So every kid learned to ride.
Yes, it was like, part of growing up. Tricycle, then bicycle then learning to drive at 15.
To be honest, I still feel afraid when I ride a bike and go down a hill, I feel afraid.
Just squeeze the brake!
But, because I had a terrible experience, a few years ago, I rode a bike with my family, and I went down a hill, and crashed. So every time when I go down a hill I feel afraid.
Natural!
You know, I had a car accident with a bike when I was 15, and I broke my arm. When my arm was better enough, my mom was like, ok, now ride your bike again. I felt afraid, but she was like, if you don't face it now it'll only get harder, so just get on the bike and go.
Would you agree with that attitude now?
Wow, let me think. I think, yes, because, like, the fault was mine, I caused the accident, it was my problem to face. It's not like, someone attacked me and she's saying now you have to face that person, it's a different thing, you know? I had to get over the problem; it was my problem to get over.
At the beginning, I think, your mom is so tough. I accept your explanation. Once you cause your trauma, you have to face it. I think it's the way people learn how to overcome the difficulties or the fear.
But it's very tough.
Yes, i know, because once, during Ghost month I had four bike accidents in four weeks, and the last one was kind of serious, so I was just like, you know, maybe I better stop for awhile. But when i started again a few years later, I had to work up my confidence.
You know, next week, we're actually going to talk about this. The guy who wrote the article said, when.you give in to fear, you practice fear, when you try to be courageous, you practice courage.
Can someone teach you how to ride a bike. Can riding a bike be taught?
No.
No, you just have to do it yourself.
Agree. No. People can teach you how to ride a bike, but the actual doing it, it's by yourself. You need to feel how to do it. Feel, not learn. Feel.
I think that's the crucial point there, I agree!
Just like learning how to play piano, or any musical instrument. It's the same. The teacher can only tell you 'do re me fa so', but you need to feel it, which key is 'do'.
I think, people can tell you, try to balance yourself, whatever, but you can only know what it means when you are riding the bike.
So, can you be taught to speak a foreign language? Can it be taught?
Well, hmm. People can teach English, for example, vocabulary, grammar, sentences, but how to pronounce, but you still need to feel it by yourself. That's why the same teacher has different results with different students.
Yeah!
Some people have better instincts with languages, or with physical things like riding a bike.
Is there any subject which can be taught?
Math!
You're saying that because math is a mystery to all of us here!
Economics?
We taught ourselves economics last year in our Apple Discussion.
...
What are we talking about with failure? Is 'not successful' the same as failure? Try to define failure, maybe.
Others think you should get the achievement, but you fail, in their eyes.
I think the failure we are talking about now, is only based on social standards. So not good enough is a failure.
That's interesting, yeah.
Not making good money is a failure, not to have a title is a failure, I think all of them are just, you know, social standards.
I, it's hard to, when you attempt to do something, and you fail, it can be a kind of failure, but it can also be one part of the trying process
Yes.
It's on the way to, on the path to success.
Is there a difference between failure and fucking up?
Fucking up, is that involving recklessness? Carelessness?
Hm, that's a good way to look at it.
In, failure, at the very beginning, we don't mean to fail.
Fucking up, sometimes will make trouble for others. But failure, I think, is mostly just about yourself.
Fucking up will make people regret.
You regret a fuck-up more than a failure.
Hey, if you don't want to use the swear word, you can say 'screwing up, messing up'. For me though, those two don't sound as serious as 'fucking up'.
What are we afraid of, when we're afraid of failure, what's involved in being afraid of failure?
Shame.
I'm afraid of being wrong, or letting people down, is that a part of shame?
Why do we always need to live up to other people's expectations?
Sometimes, if you care about that person, you don't want to lose their good opinion. I think it's because when you're a kid and you do something wrong, apparently your mother doesn't love you.
You think she doesn’t love you.
But actually they will always love you, they just pretend not to love.
They look like this (>_<) But as a kid, you can't actually distinguish that. So you're afraid your mom will not love you I think this fear comes from then. So we're afraid of failure because we're afraid of this apparent loss of love. But doing something wrong and failing is different. True! Can you say more? Failing is larger than doing something wrong. I think, when you do something wrong, you will not feel that there's no tomorrow, but if you fail to achieve something, that you really want to do, sometimes it will feel… There’s no tomorrow? ...yes, and you feel nervous and unconfident You feel like an idiot, you can't do anything right, and you'll never improve. And feel that no one needs you anymore. It's not true, but you feel all these things. Just like, in the office, you must have some ability or some skills that others think you are, you got a lot of achievement. I think it's easier to correct what you did wrong, because it can be something small. Making people believe in you first is like an insurance policy. You know, I just thought of something, men throw their credentials on the table first, women don't. Then, when something happens, women are more likely to accept responsibility, and so then overall people are likely to think of the women as less capable. So! In order to safely fuck up in a group, you have to have their confidence first. I think you also have to have confidence with yourself, to safely fuck up in your own presence. Do you often repeat mistakes? Do you repeat them even when you understood what went wrong the first time? Yes. When you think that it's just a little mistake, you will not take it seriously, so it's easy to repeat. I find I even repeat big mistakes, because I think I'm doing it differently, even though it's not, or sometimes I’m not in the mood to change my behavior. Or sometimes the mistake is built in a part of your characteristics. For instance you broke a relationship because you're often late for appointments. But it's a part of your characteristics. You're not willing to change! Being late is a mistake? It is, if it endangers your job. Or your relationship. Actually you're never late, so you wouldn't know. Actually, why are you so afraid to be late? I don't know, I just don't feel comfortable to be waited for. I feel fine to wait for others, but I don't feel right to be waited for. I think it's, I’m a coward, I will try to avoid any situation that will make the same mistakes. Really, so you never repeat mistakes! No, not never, but I’ll try very hard to avoid the situation. Wow. It's just like, I don't know how to be social, so I avoid social situations. So you can't learn how to do it then! I know what I'm not good at, so I avoid them, so there's no chance for me to learn. Because social situations are like riding a bike, you just do, so if you never try it, you don't learn. I think, for me, I repeated the same pattern many times in my life, because I refused to face myself. I refused to learn how to deal with the problem, and then, if the problem occurred again in my life, and then I refused to deal with it again, and then I realized I had to learn how to deal with it, because it will happen again, and only get bigger and bigger. How many times does it have to happen for you to change? This problem is quite big, so two times. So it happens two times, and you know you should change. I know that I have to change my thinking pattern and how I deal with the problem. But two times is not that many, you know. It is, if it's a life-threatening problem. Sometimes you only get one chance. Like, opportunities. You miss the chance… If you want to gain a lot of achievement, you need to experience a lot of painful failures, or painful experiences. I agree with you. How is creativity related to failure? What is meant by creativity? Does that mean, when you invent something, before the actual success, you have to go through several times of failure, when you invent something, that's a must. Yeah, I think so. Or, if you want to create a new thing, it's better to accept failure. If you want to avoid failure, you will choose the safer way, or more traditional way, and then it's hard to create new things. So, failure is the path to creativity, or at least is on the path. 失敗為成功之母. Failure is the mother of success. Failure is the path to success. Ha, look at this. If necessity is the mother of invention, is failure the crazy uncle?
Failure is necessary because it is what breeds and rewards perseverance and individual thought. Those who are truly dedicated fight through the failure and rise to the top, and so, in so many arenas, it is the ability to learn from our mistakes that gives us the best product, and it is individual persistence (and standing up and shaking ourselves off) that lets us percolate up through the crowds. There is nothing magical about either of those things. They are both learned traits, possibly involving little more than the minor ophthalmological trick of changing the lens through which we view ourselves.


When do you learn the ideas of success and failure?
Good question!
I think it's like when you're a baby and you hear people encouraging you.
I have a very clear memory about learning what is good and what is bad. I was in the first grade, and it was the first big exam. I placed 7th in the class. And I have no idea whether it's good or bad.
In the states, you'd’ve got praised.
I thought it was good, so I went home and told my mom, and she said, it's not very good. And so I learned.
You failed.
I learned it was not very good, I should have done better. So now I had some ideas, about what is good and what is bad.
And does it make you feel you fail to do something, or just make you feel you are bad?
I think I still don't know what failure is, but I started to know what is not good enough.
Social standards.
I think we all have these kinds of experiences, but just don't really remember them.
That was my clearest memory about my first year in elementary school.
So, what did you do afterwards?
I paid a lot of attention to grades. And, I also…but when I grew up, I didn't think it's a good thing, for me to pay that much attention to it.
Didn't you tell me you gave up, like on ever doing anything well, in junior high?
Yes. Starting from the first year in junior high, I just gave up. It's just never...
I gave up the same year.
...Really? It's because, no matter how hard you try, it turns out to be very bad results.
But seventh is not bad!
So you know how bad I was in junior high.
I once got a D in 8th grade, so yeah, you know by the way I said that normally I got good grades, i never got below a B. But I was so afraid to show my mom, and when I did, she was all, "You can do better than this." and that was it. i was so releived that I worked harder in school from then on. Maybe that's where I got the idea that school wasn't that important, though, because she was so casual about it. Like, school was important enough to do okay at it, but it wasn't real life-or-death stuff.
I'm totally different from Stacy. In my mind I didn't do good enough on my tests several times, but I seldom feel like I’m bad or sad, or fail to do something. Until I finished graduate school, and I found that I didn't get any offer from any company, that's the first time I totally feel, I'm nothing I failed to do anything.
I know that feeling! That happened to me!
That's funny, today one of my friends told me the same thing, he felt like a failure because he couldn't find a job and he just graduated.
And he knows that the economy is hard and everything else.

So let's talk about this chart that I found here, "A Spectrum of Reasons for Failure".
The first one is "Deviance
An individual chooses to violate a prescribed process or practice.
So it's more about social standards.
That's a very interesting point.
If you're talking about workplace protocol, it's about process standards, or project standards. So if everyone agrees to do something a certain way and you do something different, you're the one responsible for any sub-optimal results.
What if like, in Taiwan everyone is supposed to become a doctor or whatever, and I choose to go another path, is that deviance?
Yes, it's deviance, I guess, but is it bad?
I think it depend on the point of view. Lots and lots of people think homosexuality is bad, but I don't, and lots of other people don't, so…

Lack of ability
An individual doesn't have the skills conditions or training to execute a job.
The person that recruited that person?
As far back as recruiting! How about the people that trained them?

Process Inadequacy
A competent individual adheres to a prescribed but faulty or incomplete process
Well, they did it wrong.
No, they did the process, but the process was faulty or incomplete
Blame the system.
But who made the system?
People.
But if you know the process was wrong, why did you follow the process?
Maybe you didn't know, or not know completely?
But I think if you really know the process is wrong, you should at least try to change it.
Sometimes you have to do that thing wrong to show people why it doesn't work.

Task Challenge
An individual faces a task too difficult to be executed reliably every time.
Who's to blame here?
The senior,
Their supervisor.
But sometimes, if the person does not reveal the challenge, no one knows the test is beyond this person's ability.
Yeah, that's a good point.

Process Complexity.
A process composed of many elements breaks down when it encounters novel interactions.
I don't think process complexity is praiseworthy
Maybe she's saying no-one's at fault, but it's definitely blue, yeah.
It's praiseworthy because when it breaks down, it shows you how to simplify or improve the process. You can learn something from it.
Why is uncertainty praiseworthy?
Right, I don't understand either

Can I take a pass?
Can I get a pass?
Can I pass on this?

Okay, I'm just thinking, why can't we just live in the world without success or failure. It's a natural thing to be, to be, if it's natural to fail at things, then failure itself is not a bad thing, it's not bad! And we need to be successful, simply because we want to be a better person? But, I don't think all successful people are good people. Right, and the so-called failures, sometimes they are good people. So, I don't think we need success and failure to define ourselves.

At the beginning, the older person in the video, she said, you do what you can, it's but I think, based on the criteria of social success, we need to do what others think we can. And, so, it makes our lives so tough, so difficult. And when I was young, I defined my self, success is finish everything I want to do, that's success. But when I grew up, and started to work I found that it's not enough, and that made me feel very tired. So I think I need to learn how to embrace failure, which means I need to learn how to accept if others think I'm bad.
Wow, that sound so mature.
Wait, what?
I don't think I fail to do something, but others think I’ve failed, so I need to learn how, when others think I’m bad, or I haven't done very well, I need to accept that.
How…?
Before, I will feel very sad when someone blames me or looks down on me. But now I think, it's okay, it's part of me, I will do better if I think I want to do better, but otherwise, it's nothing, whatever you want to say, it's still me.
So you don’t have emotional up and down?
Sometimes I still will, but it's less now.

I think, success and failure is not exact. Like, the managers in big companies, the social standards thinks they're very successful, but, why is that success? And there's a lot of things we don't know about that person. Also, in Taiwan, a lot of people pursue safe jobs. And is that success or failure?
[laughter]
Hmm!
Because according to the social standards, we have a lifetime job. But you’re not challenging yourself. And to me it's like life failure.
Hmm, according to THAT standard, I'm a HUUUUUGE success. I like that standard, therefore!

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