When I first started this blog about embracing failure, I explicitly circumscribed the scope to exclude true ‘tragedies’ focusing more on “smaller failings that make up the lions share of our daily struggles.”  But Professor Randy Pausch, now famous for his Carnegie Mellon ‘Last Lecture’ has taken that positive spirit into even that extreme realm. As introduced by his colleague…

“For those of you who know Randy, Randy brings a particular zest for life and humor even while facing death. To Randy, this is simply another adventure.”

After forwarding the BBC April Fool’s Joke on flying penguins (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dfWzp7rYR4&feature=related) to my family, my Dad wrote back saying that it reminded him of an excerpt from Randy’s book which underscored his buoyant perspective…

“In the virtual reality course I taught, I encouraged students to attempt hard things and not worry about failing.  At the end of the semester, I presented a stuffed penguin—‘The First Penguin Award’— to the team that took the biggest gamble while not meeting its goals.  The award came from the idea that when penguins jump into the water that might have predators, well, one of them’s got to be the first penguin.  In essence, it was prize for ‘glorious failure’.”

Dr. Pausch is truly a hall of famer among the ‘turning adversity to advantage’ role models. ‘First Penguins’ to all those who take risks and see the broader benefits that even failures can bring.

For the full lecture, check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji5_MqicxSo.

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