An interesting thing happens at the end of the school year. Each year a handful of students that didn’t care a lick about school for the entire year, when suddenly faced with the real possibility of failure, wants to know what they can do to bring their grade up. And the answer is, often times, nothing.
At the same time, a different subset of a different population of students, when suddenly faced with the real possibility that they might lose their 4.0 by a fraction of a percentage point, also wants to know what they can do to bring their grade up. And again, the answer is, often times, nothing.
The reaction of students failing a class entirely and students losing their 4.0 because of a single class is remarkably similar. Failure, in whatever form it takes, doesn’t care what the ultimate goal is. It only cares that there is an ultimate goal. Having a goal opens up the possibility that it won’t be met. Working towards any kind of end means it might not be reached. Putting oneself out there, seemingly at all, requires the realization that failure is a real possibility.
The possibility of failure is scary, and we’re often taught that failure is to be avoided at all costs. Still, a “good” baseball player fails at the plate almost twice as often as he succeeds. We need to fail in order to know how and where to grow. It keeps us hungry for the next opportunity. And so I don’t often dig up a lot of extra credit assignments, or spend time nickel and diming points to tinker with my students’ grades. By the time the end of the school year rolls around, it’s time to face the music…whatever tune is playing!
Of failure, JK Rowling said in her Harvard commencement address, “Some…is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”
It occured to me halfway into launch week that ink. could be a miserable failure. I told friends I was going to start writing it, and had prepared a social media presence, and hyped up launch week, and put out my first post, all before it occurred to me that it might be bad, and it might fail. By then it was too late, and I waited for the end of each day before checking my reading statistics to see if anyone had viewed or liked or commented on or shared the posts.
It has been a modest launch, though not a failure in any sense, and I am grateful for those who visited and revisited to see what I had to say. Because of you, there was a chance I’d fail. Because of you, I have found some small success instead. You took a risk by reading the risk that I took by writing. And you are my first kudos this Friday!
You the readers
Whether you found ink. through WordPress, or Facebook, or Instagram, or Twitter, or a friend, you came and read and made this little corner of the internet a good place to be. I hope you will continue to return post launch week. I’ll still be here, doing what I can to make you thINK, help you drINK, and live INKspired. Bonus kudos to the 67 people who followed ink. in some way, shape, or form. I am honored you’ve joined me on this ride!
Most of you will never read this, but you should know I’m proud of the work you’ve done this year. And though some of you are mad that I didn’t come up with those few extra points you so desperately wanted this week, I hope you’ve found something meaningful to take away from our time together this year (other than a mutual dislike for Romeo and Juliet…some of you know you liked it and will fess up to it someday!).
This is not a sports kudos, but we all know the woman can play some tennis and is probably in the conversation for greatest female athletes of all time. But seriously, if you didn’t see anything about her comeback at the French Open this week, and the body suit she opted to wear instead of a tennis dress, or you didn’t hear anything about her coming back from maternity leave to win a grand slam match, or the near fatal complications she faced after the birth of her daughter, here’s all you need to know. We can all use some positive inspiration. And my very impressionable 15 and 16 year old female students were all talking about how awesome it was this week, and in a world short of body positive, attitude positive, identity positive role models, they could all do much much worse than Serena!
WINE FOR YOUR WEEKEND
Cigar is a Napa Valley wine label launched in 2012. A blend of 90% Zinfandel, 5% Petit Syrah, and 5% Syrah, which lowers its ABV to under 14%, keeps the flavor profile bold and complex. Wine is finished in oak barrels for 11 months, giving the final product a nice smokiness reminiscent of its namesake while additional notes of stone fruits, pepper, and spice round out a full-bodied flavor profile. It pairs well with red meat and grilled vegetables, and charcuterie. But let’s be honest, I’d drink it just on its own out on the patio with a good book. Just under $15, and widely distributed, Cigar should be a staple to share with friends, or sip solo all weekend long!