Tag Archives: Inventor

On Being Savagely Successful

Only through failure can we learn to succeed.

While I believe that’s one of the most important life lessons we can learn, it’s all to often overlooked when we, as parents, attempt to shelter our little dudes and dudettes from this sort of thing, to ensure a failure-free lifetime for our spawn.

The problem with that plan is that it ensures the growth of a no-longer-child who cannot cope with setbacks, who doesn’t know how to learn from mistakes, use that knowledge to correct his or her errors and move on to the next aspect of his or her life. Those of us of the adult persuasion understand that learning from our mistakes so we don’t make them again is essential in just about every aspect of our daily existence.

Folks shouldn’t look at failure as a bad outcome, as long as they contain the persistence to continue working toward the goal they, at first, didn’t attain. Heck, listen to huckster and part-time inventor Thomas Alva Edison: I didn’t fail ten thousand times. I successfully eliminated, ten thousand times, materials and combinations which wouldn’t work.

Adam Savage is a Maker, sort-of scientist and best known as co-host of Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters series. Yesterday, I ran a list of his 10 rules for success. One of those rules said — simply — fail.

If you’ve ever watched Mythbusters, you know one of his sayings is that “Failure is always an option.” He’s not a defeatist, rather he understands that by examining why something failed and how it failed, he can apply those lessons to make the endeavor succeed.

Another of his rules that I particularly like would have to be: If you want something, ASK. I’ve a feeling this should be self-explanatory, but, for too many dudes and dudettes, this completely escapes them.

Too many people seem to believe that their only choices are the ones actually offered to them. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

One of the most important lessons that Zippy the College Boy learned in high school and that, hopefully, Hyper Lad will learn now that he’s attending the same high school, is to self advocate. Which means, in a nutshell, ask for what you want.

If you don’t understand something in class, ask the teacher for clarification. If you still don’t get it, don’t worry. Just keep asking and trying until you do.

If you see someone doing something cool? Ask them how they did it, how they learned it? Where can you learn it?

Looking at Savage’s list, I think the most important thing you can take away from it is that you should approach life as a participatory sport, rather than something you should watch happen.

Get involved! Get motivated!

Work, as Savage said, your ass off to achieve your goals. If you don’t have what you need to accomplish those goals, don’t collapse into a weeping pile of angst. Ask for help. Get what you need, practice the new skills and get good. Then go out and accomplish your goals.

Success takes more than just hard work and diligence, but you can’t succeed without either of them.

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Doo The Right Thing

by Richard

I’m taking a break from talking about your brain on love to talk about a brain I love. Yeah, that’s right. It’s time to celebrate another birthday. This time, it’s my namesake, my pater, my dad, the last man in the Jones line to have some play on a slang word for penis as his nickname. Well, his intentional nickname.

(His grandkids all call him Dickey Doo [because he says he’s too young to be a grandfather.] and even that’s going to fade with him. Even though he’s an awesome granddad, I have the feeling no one’s going to want to call themselves that nickname once he gives it up.)

Dickey Jones is a pretty amazing dude when I stop to think about it.

When I was growing up, he was just my dad; the guy who worked late, liked to run around in tight jogging shorts for no reason and who introduced me to the joy that is the Hawaiian shirt.

I had no idea this dude was a world-renowned orthopedic surgeon, one of the most respected teacher/physicians in the country, an inventor, a former major-college football player and track star, a valued scientific researcher and a wanna-be hippy. Okay, that last part I did know. Far too well. But the other stuff was a mystery to me until I got older.

We haven’t always gotten along well. Being a father, he suffered a near-terminal diminishment of intelligence when I was between the ages of 15 and 25, but he managed to survive. No matter what was going on between us, though, my dad always approached things with a calm joy that has come to characterize his life.

Dad is a man who enjoys the finer things in life. One of his greatest joys, though, isn’t keeping that fine thing to himself, but sharing it with others, people who might not have a chance to experience something like that. He and his wife are major parishioners at a Catholic church in Dallas where most of the people attending are at or below the poverty line. They have offered a hand out to many of the people there just because they can.

That’s as good a definition of good Christian as I’ve ever heard. And it’s describing someone who used to describe himself as beyond gods and devils. That was during the ego years back in the early 1970s. I blame the drugs. No, not ones he took, ones others took and led them to believe just about anything said with a modicum of passion and coherence.

He gave me a lot of things. My love of argument came from him and my mom, as did my love of reading. They taught me to always stand up for those who can’t stand for themselves and never let anyone do without if you can help them.

I’m proud to call this dude my dad.

Happy birthday, Dad.

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Fresh Start

by Richard

All right, time to rub the sleep gunk out of your eyes and the other kinds of gunk out of other places. I’m not going to go into too much detail on that one. There are some things I just don’t need to know. And neither do you. In fact, just forget I brought it up.

Where were we? Ah, right. The fresh start inherent in the New Year.

A fresh new calendar (unless you go by the academic year with your little dudes), with all those blank pages. A chance to start over without the baggage from last year. Of course, we all know that’s fiction. Even if we wanted to forget the time we filled our neighbor’s pool with jell-o, ordered in two dozen emperor penguins and a leopard seal, chartered a helicopter and encouraged the practice, nay, the perfection of deviant sexual practices that involved said aforementioned items, you know folks just won’t let it go. Uh. Just pulling out an example at random.

So, while the real world won’t give you a completely clean slate, it will hand over a nice palimpsest for you to use. Take advantage of that. Really. If the majority of folks want to pretend a new year is a new start, why not let them? It will give you a chance to put out there the you that you want to be, not who you fear you are.

Accept people as who they are and know you can’t change them.

Allow semi-anonymous bloggers the opportunity to lecture you on any subject they choose. Although that last one might be a tad self-serving.

And, above all, forget about making any resolutions. I will, however, say that I kept my non-resolution from last year. I did not, in fact, make any resolutions. So, good on me. I’m still going to go with that one this time around.

I’ll not make any resolutions again. However, I will take the time during the year to make a thorough inventory of myself and try to find places where I can improve myself. The better I am, the better my life will be. And the same goes for you, too.

So, as the Naughty Oughties draw to a close in 2010, let’s all resolve to do no more resolving and just focus on improvement for ourselves.

If you’re so inclined, why not leave a comment talking about how you’re planning, not resolving, to improve some part of your life.

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