Creativity, Inc. – Embracing Failure

Standard

Picked up Creativity, Inc. again last night. Came across the quote below while reading. I love how this explains so many things I’ve encountered in the work force.

There’s a quick way to determine if your company has embraced the negative definition of failure. Ask yourself what happens when an error is discovered. Do people shut down and turn inward, instead of coming together to untangle the causes of problems that might be avoided going forward? Is the question being asked: Whose fault was this? If so, your culture is one that vilifies failure. Failure is difficult enough without it being compounded by the search for a scapegoat.

In a fear-based, failure-averse culture, people will consciously or unconsciously avoid risk. They will seek instead to repeat something safe that’s been good enough in the past. Their work will be derivative, not innovative. But if you can foster a positive understanding of failure, the opposite will happen.

A Friday Confession

Standard

I used to pray, God, use me however you want. I used to sing loudly, with tears in my eyes, God, where you lead, I will follow. (Tears because I didn’t want God to send me into the backwoods somewhere without air conditioning.) I prayed with a bigger picture in mind; I sang open to the will of God for my life. The subtle current of wanting adventure, thrills beyond the everyday life, thrummed beneath the surface of my prayers. As The Killers sing in their song “Read My Mind”:

I never really gave up on
Breakin’ out of this two-star town

What I was really praying was, God, I’m willing to follow you as long as it means new places, new people, and a lack of monotony. 

Photo by Camille Puche on Unsplash

When I graduated from college back in 2006, I thought I’d get married and leave Longview forever. My big plans were to go back to Southern California, get an amazing job OR start a video game ministry, and life would go on. But then economy imploded… and God has used those 12 years since graduation to shape and form me into something new. I’m not the same guy that I was, and I recognize that as being good.

Do you ever feel like Moses, living in the wilderness with his wife and father-in-law? Being prepared, by God, away from the limelight, in safety? Do you ever wonder if you are being taught to just focus on and impact those around you? I do. Our world is all about the big, the bold, the blaring Coldplay stadium anthems. Anthems that silently whisper to us that if you aren’t doing something big, in life or for God, then you are a failure.

Here is where I want to land: You are not a failure.

In the Bible, God consistently uses those the world does not know for His glory, purpose, and Kingdom. I think we have to pray that our hearts align more with Him and less with the overwhelming expectations the world and even Christian culture can put on us. You can make a difference for His Kingdom where you are, right now. You don’t even have to move. Even though Switchfoot might dare you to.

Be Silent, Don’t Talk

Standard

Sometimes I want to feel like I can talk out loud. I want to talk about what it’s like not being able to have more children. How years upon years can go by and nothing happens… and how bad that hurts. I want to talk about the lies that constantly swirl around about not being whole… the lie of being a failure for not being able to produce. Whenever my wife and I open up about where we are, people say the most insane/insensitive things:

“You should be quiet, you already have one.”

“You should focus more on others.”

“You should come up with a plan to adopt and be ready to start next week.”

Why can’t others just listen? Why can’t we mourn together? Why is it so hard to just pray and be?

Eric Schumacher wrote a post yesterday titled “Dads Hurt Too: A Father’s Memoir of Miscarriage“. Made me cry. Even though my wife and I haven’t experienced a miscarriage (that we know of… there are different types of miscarriages), I get where he is coming from. I’ve heard the same lies:

Comparison pointed a paw at our living children—three of them, then four, then five—and demanded, “What right have you to mourn a child you never knew, when you have all these?” Comparison thrust the faces of friends before my own—friends who could not conceive, friends without a living child, friends whose children died in the crib or in college—and mocked, “You mourn, but not as those who have no kids. Others are worse off; stifle your sorrow.”

There comes a point where you feel like you should just be silent. The hurt experienced from opening up and talking in community not worth the price.

  • Why do we, as Christians, go silent when others who are hurting pour their hearts out?
  • Why do we act like we have no power when we claim Jesus lives in us?

I feel like I should be able to talk, especially around fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, and yet I can’t.

Parenting Fail – The Nunchucks

Standard

 

mikey

The boy was whirling around a pair of foam green nunchucks.

I looked at him, “You’re doing it wrong.”

“What do you mean?”

“You need training. Let’s check out some Youtube videos so that you can see how awesome you can be.”

A few videos in, I kept waiting for Wyatt to peg himself as he mimicked the motions on screen.

Didn’t happen.

Five videos in, I hear a sudden yelp as Wyatt accidentally hit himself in the face. His left eye to be specific.

I started laughing. Hard.

He didn’t like that.

I laughed harder.

Videogames and Men

Quote

We need more writing like this:

“As any football fan or regular participant in golf, ultimate frisbee, or Settlers of Catan will confess, embracing make-believe battles isn’t in itself a sinful or even unwise act. What matters is one’s perspective. For anyone who plays videogames, there must be a commitment to proper perspective. The game is not the ultimate reality, even while playing it. The player should see the game as an experiment, not as a genuine set of priorities and goals, but as a pretend set of priorities and goals. Videogames should be viewed as opportunities to practice and explore the values and commitments we make with ourselves and with our God. Just as men ought not genuinely despair over a lost football game, men who play videogames should learn to accept failure as an integral part of the experience.” – Richard Clark, Videogames and Men

Failure is OKAY

Standard

A few weeks into a job, I came across a situation that was very foreign to me, verbal abuse. I don’t remember exactly what the task was, but my boss repeatedly told me that I had failed.

“This task is so easy that a third grader could do this.”

Then pointing out the window, “Do you see the Fedex person walking by? This is so easy that they could do this.”

Any sense of college optimism I had jumped out the window in that moment. Sadly, I began to let small repeated moments like those define who I am. Lies from the very pit of Hell itself.

Past failure, if we let it, can quickly become a part of our identity.

Failure is okay. I think that we have to grant ourselves the slack to fail from time-to-time. As long as we are learning from those failures, we are golden. Lies can only be exposed by truth. It is okay to fail because you will.

Sony – Slowest Sinking Ship Ever.

Standard

Dear Sony,

My personal information is running amok on the Internet! I have now received the first piece of SPAM related to your most recent debacle. Luckily, I can actually read and was able to see that you wouldn’t be using an email address like:

nment at soe dot innovyx dot net

This morning I learned, via The Ancient Gaming Noob, that your problems are more widespread than originally believed. Which makes me wonder, what the heck you have been doing? I would think, as a company, that one of your first and foremost priorities would be to secure your customer’s personal data. How could you have allowed for hackers to even obtain access to such things? You’re an electronics giant for the love of Godzilla! Capable of creating such things as the Walkman and the PS3!

It is time to put the big boy pants on Sony. We live in a digital age. Grow up or pass the company name onto someone else more deserving. Your squandering a legacy.

Sincerely,

Bryan