Be the first penguin (by Randy Pausch)

Hope professor Pausch was not upset about diffusing one piece of his last lecture, wherever he is:

“Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted. 

That’s an expression I learned when I took a sabbatical at Electronic Arts, the video-game maker. It just stuck with me, and I’ve learned up repeating it again and again to students. 

It’s a phrase worth considering at every brick wall we encounter, and at every disappointment. It’s also a reminder that failure is not just acceptable, it’s often essential. 

When I taught the “Building Virtual Worlds” course, I encouraged students to attempt hard things and to not worry about faillings. I wanted to reward that way of thinking. So at the end of each semester, I’d present one team of students with a stuffed animal- a penguin. It was called “The First Penguin Award” and went to the team that took the biggest gamble in trying new ideas or new technology, while failing to achieve their stated goals. In essence, it was an award for “glorious failure”, and it celebrated out-of-the-box thinking and using imagination in a daring way. 

The other students came to understand: “First Penguin” winners were losers who were definitely going somewhere. 

The title of the award came from the notion that when penguins are about to jump into water that might contain predators, well, somebody’s got to be the first penguin. I originally called it “The Best Failure Award, ” but failure has so many negative connotations that students couldn’t get past the word itself.

“First Penguin” winners were losers who were definitely going somewhere. Randy Pausch

Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted. And experience is often the most valuable thing you have to offer”.

Actually, the truth is that I’ve never thought whether I like penguins or not, but hope one day I become one of them.

That’s all folks.

Edmond Dantès

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