A Princeton Professor Just Reminded Us We All F*ck Up And That's OK
We all have failures we'd like to forget. But, the truth is, we should all probably embrace them.
After all, you can't grow as a person without making a few mistakes here or there. It's how we all learn.
To borrow from Louis CK, the comedian once said,
Whenever you leave behind failure that means you're doing better. If you think everything you've done has been great, you're probably dumb.
In other words, the path toward success is paved with failures, and a Princeton University professor just reminded us all of that in a profound way.
Johannes Haushofer, assistant professor of psychology and public affairs, recently published a curriculum vitae (CV) of his failures.
Normally, a CV is like a resume on steroids. As Vox notes, not only do you list your education and work experience on a CV, you also list awards and published works, among other accolades and accomplishments.
So, a CV is essentially a document that permits people to brag as much as possible.
Haushofer used this model to highlight how important it is for all of us to not feel shame about the times we've stumbled or fallen short in our lives. On his "CV of Failures," he wrote,
Most of what I try fails, but these failures are often invisible, while the successes are visible. I have noticed that this sometimes gives others the impression that most things work out for me. As a result, they are more likely to attribute their own failures to themselves, rather than the fact that the world is stochastic, applications are crapshoots, and selection committees and referees have bad days. This CV of Failures is an attempt to balance the record and provide some perspective.
Some failures Haushofer listed were the degree programs he didn't get into, the research funding he didn't get and papers he wrote that were rejected by academic journals.
These may not seem like a big deal, but in the context of the hyper-competitive world of academia, such incidents can deal huge blows to people's egos.
Haushofer didn't come up with the idea for the CV of failures -- a professor from the University of Edinburgh did -- but his CV gained a lot of traction and was cited in a number of recent articles.
For this reason, the Princeton professor jokingly (or perhaps painfully) said his biggest failure was the fact "this darn CV of failures" received more attention than his entire body of academic work.
When it comes down to it, we should all wear our failures as openly and proudly as Haushofer.
Failures make us who we are. Never apologize or feel ashamed for who you are.