gregbo (gregbo) wrote,

the art of failure

Via src, I found The Art of Failure, an article that gives some definitions and examples of failure. A key point of the article is the difference between choking, where people revert to non-instinctual, deliberate behavior, and panic, where people revert to their instincts instead of thinking. I found the following quote from the article amusing:

"We have to learn that sometimes a poor performance reflects not the innate ability of the performer but the complexion of the audience; and that sometimes a poor test score is the sign not of a poor student but of a good one."

I wonder how much this would sway an admissions committee, say, if it appeared in someone's SOP (statement of purpose) trying to explain a poor test score. (Conversely, how much would this upset someone who had impeccable credentials but wasn't admitted anywhere they wanted to go?)

The most serious panic attack I ever witnessed was in my unified math class in the fall semester of my sophomore year of high school. There was a question on the final that almost no one knew how to do. I remeber trying to figure it out for a couple of minutes unsuccessfully, then doing all of the other problems before coming back to it. However, a young woman in my class freaked out when she got to that question. She started crying really loudly, so much that everyone else in the room could hear her. She was so upset that she had to leave the room. On the way out the door, you could hear her saying things like "I couldn't even find the midpoint" and so forth. I think the teacher decided not to include the final in her grade for the semester.

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