Everyone Deserves a Trophy
In the 3rd grade, my son played little league football. At the end of the season, there was the proverbial awards ceremony. When one of the coaches wheeled out, yes wheeled, the trophies, there were many oohs and ahhs from parents, players, and passersby. Standing at three feet, the trophies were quite the show stopper.
And, they were quite the surprise. The Mighty Giants lost every game.
You know how the awards ceremony went. Speeches were made about how great each kid was. How they gave it their all. How next year will be better. Each kid was so excited waiting for their name to be called so they could get their hands (both hands in this case) on that coveted trophy.
It’s at this early age when we tell our kids that showing up and losing is worthy of a trophy. So what happens as we grow older and failure becomes the kiss of death? I mean no one is handing out three foot tall trophies when that great idea turns out to be the worst idea in the history of ideas. Why not?
Now I’m not one of those parents who believes every kid should get a trophy just for showing up. But, if you’re going to hand out a trophy to every kid, change the presentation speech to something like, ‘‘I’m giving you this large trophy as a reminder of the number of passes you dropped, which was a lot. See the inscription: Hold on to the ball!” Sounds harsh, but that’s the type of trophy giving I can get my arms around.
As adults, however, we are far from celebrating failure. In fact, we avoid it at all costs. And if someone arounds us fails, we feel bad for the poor loser while secretly breathing a sigh of a relief that it wasn’t you who blew it.
What if we tried to celebrate the failure instead. I’m not talking some Jedi mind trick. But celebrate that we discovered what doesn’t work. Now that we have that discovery, we can cross it off the list and go on to the next idea. Every great innovation that we enjoy today is the survivor of a pile of garbage ideas that didn’t work.
At the Super Bowl on Sunday, there inevitably will be a pass dropped, a tackle missed, or a kick that goes too far to the right of the goal post. Instead of yelling at the offender, try celebrating the flub. Because now that they got that out of their system, you can bet they learned from it and definitely won’t repeat it again.
Go Patriots! Hey, when in Rome.