I was happy to read that health experts now encourage us to relax on the calorie front at holiday time. We don’t, in fact, gain an average of 5 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. It’s more like 2 pounds, which one could argue equals a respectable day at the Minnesota State Fair.
And no one’s sounding alarm bells about that.
The memo to ease up comes at a good time, as I find myself drawn to any opportunity to become a first-rate slacker.
I very much like the sound of a “failure résumé,” for example. The newish concept suggests that we can only embrace our complete selves if we do an honest accounting of our professional lows alongside our noteworthy accomplishments.
There was the time, for example, when the “royal we” were fired from Dairy Queen because “we” never could make that little squiggly thing at the top of the ice cream cone.
Thank goodness journalism would have me.
I’m growing more appreciative, too, of those brave souls posting to social media about what life really looks like:
Cakes that don’t rise. Mental health issues that ebb and flow and ebb.
And of books, such as Megan McArdle’s “The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success.” And “Mistakes Were Made — But Not by Me,” by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson. And Tim Harford’s “Adapt: Why Success Always Starts With Failure.”
Frankly, it’s all such a relief! Trying to keep up appearances is exhausting.
My 2018 New Year’s resolutions, thus, are threefold:
1. Fail more.
2. Apologize less.
3. And embrace good-enough.
The most exciting prospect of failing more is that we get to leap headlong into all sorts of things we were afraid to try as kids, sometimes due to others’ dismissiveness but, more likely, due to unfortunate and negative self-talk.
Want to sing? Play broomball? Do stand-up? Want to do singing stand-up while playing broomball? In 2018, no one will stop you. Flail and fail away. It’s the point.
As talent manager Susie tells stand-up wannabe Midge in Amazon’s hit, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” you have to learn to bomb, like every great comedian in history.
My shortlist does not include stand-up, but it does include gardening (surrounded as I am by newsroom Master Gardeners), singing in public, swimming in a lake.
Oh, and downloading the Lyft app.
Aside from embracing failure, I also will apologize less. Ever see two women at a bathroom door, one exiting and one entering? They both apologize for the fact that the door opened. This is not occurring 2 feet away at the men’s room.
Now, please note. I did not say I’d stop apologizing. I’m just going to dole out my regrets more appropriately. If I misspell your name in my column? Not just an apology, but a published correction.
My car runs into the back of yours? Really sorry and so grateful that no one was hurt.
Apologize to my server when he got the order wrong? I’m going to stop doing that.
Ultimately, I’m going to embrace good-enough, also known as the 80 percent rule. Running slowly is still running. Your dog doesn’t know that you’re singing off-key. (Well, my dog doesn’t know.)
Burning the roast doesn’t take away the loving attempt that was cooked into it to please a crowd, and there’s always pizza in the freezer.
These efforts, in fact, are not signs of failure. They’re signs of life — human life which includes inevitable moments of humility, whether we hide them or post them for all of the “social” world to see.
In her bestselling book, “Option B,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg writes about a Princeton professor named Johannes Haushofer who posted his failure résumé in response to a challenge issued by scientist Melanie I. Stefan. Haushofer’s “CV of Failures” includes the headings “Degree programs I did not get into,” “Academic positions and fellowships I did not get,” and “Awards and scholarships I did not get.”
Haushofer joked that this résumé, crafted to “provide some perspective,” received “way more attention than my entire body of academic work.”
I’m guessing that it was a relief to all who saw it. In 2018, may all of our résumés be lovingly flawed.
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