Triumphs and Failures

Penelope Trunk at Brazen Careerist makes an intriguing point about triumphs and failures. Half the time that woman is so far outfield I don’t know whether she’s even caught the damn ball. The other half of the time she can take a standard, taken-for-granted, black-and-white truth, flip it over, turn it inside out, and explain what’s really going on. And she’ll be right.

Here’s what she has to say about triumphs:

…I don’t really believe in triumph. Because the most triumphant moments are the days when I have no idea how I’m going to fix anything, but I get out of bed anyway. On the other hand, the moments of huge achievement are not actually that hard to get to. By the time you’re close, you are so motivated to get there that it doesn’t feel like work at all.

…Another thing about the bullshit of big triumphs: Our big moments — where we can change the world — come because so many other people have helped us, and luck has come to us. But our small moments, when no one is watching and no one cares and the only thing that makes us try again is an unreasonable belief that we can get what we want for ourselves — those are the triumphs that we do all by ourselves.

Here’s what she has to say about failures:

Another thing. Everyone, please shut up about your biggest failures. I hate when people write about their failures because they always write about how they pulled themselves up, or what they learned. And really, then, it’s not a failure, is it? It’s a learning opportunity, or a chance to shine. Failure is something you did not overcome. You did not learn from. And most people are too embarrassed to write about it. High achievers don’t have failures because they can learn from everything.

See? F-ing right. For better or for worse, Penelope’s brain is wired differently than most humans’. As someone who appreciates the truth and full disclosure, and who gives it to people whether they want it or not, I respect Ms. Trunk’s honesty. I will admit to being overwhelmed by the intimate details of her life at times. It’s a lot to take in. But I still read her blog because she breaks the world down and explains it simply, candidly, and with stunning intelligence.

Posted by Alexa Harrington

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  • Comments (3)
  1. Alexa, thanks for the nice post. And thanks for sticking with me even when you think I sound crazy :)


  2. Penelope, you’re welcome. You’re too amazing to ignore. And as I said, I’ve got that whole pathologically honest thing going for me as well. I get it that it’s all or nothing and people just have to deal with it or not. Take care,


    • TS
    • March 19th, 2010

    True on the failures part. I hate when I get asked that question in job interviews…or the biggest weakness question. I don’t see things as failures. I wanted to try it, I did it. It didn’t work out perfectly, but hey, I learned something. How is that a failure? It’s the same with weaknesses. Somebody once said a weakness is just a strength taken to the extreme. So then it’s not really a weakness is it? You just need to learn how to pull back on your strength.

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