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Friday, January 17, 2020

The virtue of failure

Mike McDaniel, the 49ers run-game coordinator, explains how the various failures of the coaches on the Mike Shanahan tree has led to their astonishing success this year, with heavy influences on three of the four NFL teams still in contention:
“Our greatest strength has been our weakness, where our longest tenure at a place has been three years,” McDaniel says in August. “And we’ve had to do it with not always elite players. Some of the biggest shortcomings, the worst things that can happen to a coach, is the system that’s set up for failure. How do you get jobs? You win. People that win in the same place, those people get promoted. Well, often times those people—there are compounding variables for success. And they won because, Tom Brady, for instance.”

He continued: “What getting fired but still being the league allows you to do is you have so many different things where you have to figure out a way to make sh-- work. And that has made us night-and-day a thousand times better; the best years we’ve ever coached have been the years where we had to scratch and claw for everything. To lose a ton and stay in the NFL—that was the perfect storm for us to expand and innovate.”
It reminds me of Mike Cernovich's advice to me: scratch and claw. Reinforce success and abandon failure. Eventually, you'll be able to refine your approach to find something that not only works, but succeeds.

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28 Comments:

Blogger OneWingedShark January 17, 2020 3:06 PM  

Failure is underrated.
There are those who "always win" — like Trump portrays himself as or, more notably and as I've observed, the politically-anointed (e.g. general- and some flag-officers in the military) — and there are those who lose, and lose, and lose but learn and eventually start to win.

Unfortunately, modern society seems to really like to paint the latter as "losers" when the reality is that they're far better suited for "getting out of bad spots" than the political perfumed-princes precisely because (a) they know how to mitigate failure-modes, (b) they're more likely to have actually applicable experience in getting out of the troublesome situation, and (c) they are far less likely to be arrogant.

I really wish we had fewer of the "anointed" and more "losers" in the high military ranks right now.

Blogger Rhino Bear January 17, 2020 3:17 PM  

Pursuing excellence one failure at a time. I say this all the time when Im painting.

Blogger Newscaper312 January 17, 2020 3:22 PM  

Re the generals, Drudge today had a link to Daily Beast talking about Trump's "tantrum" in the Pentagin back when Tillerson was still at State. Of course it's all portrayed the worst possible way... but nothing he told them was really wrong.

Blogger Dan in Georgia January 17, 2020 3:23 PM  

Trump is more of a lemons-->lemon-aid kinda guy. He discovered, probably accidentally, that owing a lot of money was a form of leverage in itself, and made the most of it. The threat of the USA defaulting could be what he plans on doing to move the Fed back into the Treasury Dept. Or he's just lucky. But no one is THAT lucky.

Blogger bodenlose Schweinerei January 17, 2020 3:44 PM  

heavy influences on three of the four NFL teams still in contention

It's a failure of diversity, is what that is. Do you have any idea how much more strongly and inclusively blacks or women or black women could have failed in those situations? Damn racists, always obsessed with tangible success.

Blogger Akulkis January 17, 2020 3:49 PM  

@1

I get the impression that Trump is a VERY quick study, and the reason he's rarely a loser is because he studies losers, finds out why they lost, and makes sure he doesn't make the same mistake.

When I'm not reading science/tech stuff, I spend a LOT of my time reading history and biographies. You learn a lot of pitfalls that various people experienced, and you learn a lot about perseverence (especially in the quest to take something from idea from "interesting and perplexing anomalous results" to entirely new class of consumer-grade technology. This involves years of work).

Joining the army brought me through to the practical side. Nothing like being on guard duty in a freezing rain storm to teach you perseverence, when every neuron in your brain is screaming, "get inside some shelter, and get some warm liquids in you" and yet you push through, minute by minute, enduring the misery, until your relief comes. This sort of thing, honestly, taught me more about perseverence and sticking to things even more than my junior year of engineering school, which basically consisted of "all-nighters" 5 days/week, grabbing naps here and there between classes, amounting to about 4 hours of sleep per day on class days.

On a related note: Why does the US Army value anyone with a Ranger tab as better for promotion than someone who doesn't?

The US Army Ranger school isn't so much about success or failure -- it's about operating while being deliberately underfed and malnourished for weeks at a time, with 1-4 hours of sleep, and thereby learning how that impacts mental proficiency to do even simple tasks, and the toll that the lack from nourishment is such that even simple scratches don't heal.

And therefore, a leader who can do ANYTHING to prevent such things from happening to the units under his command will do so -- because preserving THEIR strength preserves HIS strength and power.

Blogger Beau January 17, 2020 3:53 PM  

Failure makes a great teacher and motivator, if you own it.

Blogger tublecane January 17, 2020 3:58 PM  

@1- Concerning politicians, I wish the Fitzgeraldian "no second acts in American lives" thing were true.

Not that no one can ever make a comeback. But if they go all-in and bust, they should slink away and do something else. Always urked me that Johns Kerry and McCain weren't compelled to retire their Senate seats before being party nominees, for instance. Because they can embarrass themselves and their parties then they're STILL THERE, and we have to look at them.

But that's high-level politics. In other areas of life we like the Rise, Fall, and Rise Again pattern of a Steve Jobs.

Blogger Unknown January 17, 2020 4:02 PM  

Mark Antony after defeat at the battle of Actium
https://youtu.be/IKFY8L1DoP4

Blogger Balkan Yankee January 17, 2020 4:24 PM  

Failure is mandatory. Success is optional.

Blogger nrthrn stncrft January 17, 2020 4:27 PM  

It's fun to see what your own creative mind will do to get out of a corner you've backed yourself into. And if anyone else is along for the ride, you'll probably get a good peek at their true character.

Blogger Crew January 17, 2020 4:55 PM  

Maybe this person will learn from its failure to write reasonable Science Fiction:

https://reason.com/2020/01/17/canceled-transgender-story/

Blogger James Dixon January 17, 2020 5:23 PM  

> Always urked me that Johns Kerry and McCain weren't compelled to retire their Senate seats before being party nominees, for instance.

As much as I despise Bob Dole, he did resign from the Senate to run for President.

> Failure is mandatory.

Yeah, the failure is not an option folks are morons.

Blogger KBuff January 17, 2020 6:06 PM  

Side note: Mike Shanahan was an introductory speaker for Trump at the final Colorado campaign rally just a few days prior to the 2016 election. Obviously had a huge amount of respect for Trump.

Blogger Johnny January 17, 2020 6:41 PM  

@13 You take what you can get. Compared to Kerry and McCain, Bob Dole was a good guy.

Blogger sappbe January 17, 2020 8:05 PM  

I say this all the time to my son, if not exactly in the same words. There are no better educators than pain and failure.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash January 17, 2020 8:27 PM  

sappbe wrote:There are no better educators than pain and failure.
Hunger is right up there.

Blogger furor kek tonicus ( no need to be racist, Ratchets can Karen better than anybody ) January 17, 2020 10:24 PM  

experts have told me that a Head Coach's inability to adequately convey his game plan to his team is
...
the team's fault for failing to comprehend it.

Blogger KPKinSunnyPhiladelphia January 17, 2020 11:18 PM  

The point of this is, of course, is that "you have so many different things where you have to figure out a way to make sh-- work."

"Make shit work."

Got it?

Easy to say, hard to do...but doable. If you have the smarts, the character, and the ability to leverage the luck that comes your way.

Blogger JovianStorm January 18, 2020 12:08 AM  

Right makes might but only if it fights!

Pick a good leader who in turn follows the Cross, draw your sword and charge!

Blogger Doktor Jeep January 18, 2020 12:27 AM  

I have failed so much and learned such that I know too much

Blogger God Emperor Memes January 18, 2020 12:50 AM  

Very true. If you owe a bank $50,000, you might have a problem.
If you owe the bank $5 billion dollars, the bank has a problem.

Blogger furor kek tonicus ( no need to be racist, Ratchets can Karen better than anybody ) January 18, 2020 1:57 AM  

12. Crew January 17, 2020 4:55 PM
https://reason.com/2020/01/17/canceled-transgender-story/




that's beautiful. you have a pro-trans story, written by a trans author, published in a magazine honoring the most notorious queer pedophile of the Golden Age skiffy having to be withdrawn because trans readers are drama queens who haven't got the emotional maturity of a 2 year old.

and Reason is full on globo homo now.

Blogger Solon January 18, 2020 4:31 AM  

@12 Crew

That article is more proof that the Right is winning. You've got trans fighting trans for not being woke enough. They're dogs, fighting each other over scraps. Cancel-culture cancelling other cancel-culture.

This has happened before. Joseph Stalin recognized and weaponized it almost 100 years ago.

Remember, anyone who wants to associate themselves with that group:

The Revolution ALWAYS eats its own.

Blogger Johnny January 18, 2020 8:49 AM  

To a considerable extent Stalin ruled through the fear of death. But you can only get away with killing people if you have a history of killing people. Hitler became absolute ruler because he got away with the Night of the Long Knives. And given his style, he did it openly. Stalin did it in secret. Stalin and some of his buddies beat some of their political opponents to death with pipes.

Blogger Tars Tarkas January 18, 2020 10:42 AM  

Speaking of failure, has anyone seen this cringe-fest 22 conference, make women great again thing? Even Molyneux is allegedly involved in it.

Crew wrote:Maybe this person will learn from its failure to write reasonable Science Fiction:

https://reason.com/2020/01/17/canceled-transgender-story/


It was read and approved by sensitivity reviewers

WTF is a sensitivity reviewer?

The lolbertarians have really jumped the shark. They are always a good lolcow, but damn, I almost want to think this was nothing more than a good troll. This is the best article since the time Nick Gilespy interviewed someone pushing queer theory for foreign policy.

Blogger Linda Fox January 18, 2020 2:02 PM  

I remember once not getting a job (as a teacher) because I answered the question "Is it ever a good thing to fail a child?" with YES!

I answered, "Failure teaches you things success won't - what your weaknesses are, how to rebound from failure, and that failure is not a life sentence. Failure, properly managed, is a GOOD thing. Without it, you can never achieve all that you are capable of."
The interviewer made a point of telling me that a REAL teacher would never say such a horrible thing.
Twit.

Blogger OneWingedShark January 18, 2020 5:05 PM  

Dan in Georgia wrote:Trump is more of a lemons-->lemon-aid kinda guy. He discovered, probably accidentally, that owing a lot of money was a form of leverage in itself, and made the most of it. The threat of the USA defaulting could be what he plans on doing to move the Fed back into the Treasury Dept. Or he's just lucky. But no one is THAT lucky.
The Fed never was part of the Treasury. / But you're right, nobody is THAT lucky.

tublecane wrote:@1- Concerning politicians, I wish the Fitzgeraldian "no second acts in American lives" thing were true.

Not that no one can ever make a comeback. But if they go all-in and bust, they should slink away and do something else. Always irked me that Johns Kerry and McCain weren't compelled to retire their Senate seats before being party nominees, for instance. Because they can embarrass themselves and their parties then they're STILL THERE, and we have to look at them.

But that's high-level politics. In other areas of life we like the Rise, Fall, and Rise Again pattern of a Steve Jobs.

The biggest problem of the political-elite right now is that they are utterly insulated from failure: always 'winning' even when they should lose. The "privatize the profits, socialize the risks" that preceded the 2008 housing/banking crisis is a good example: the banks certainly didn't lose, even though they deserved to.

Linda Fox wrote:I remember once not getting a job (as a teacher) because I answered the question "Is it ever a good thing to fail a child?" with YES!

I answered, "Failure teaches you things success won't - what your weaknesses are, how to rebound from failure, and that failure is not a life sentence. Failure, properly managed, is a GOOD thing. Without it, you can never achieve all that you are capable of."
The interviewer made a point of telling me that a REAL teacher would never say such a horrible thing.
Twit.

Thank you for having a good/realistic worldview, even if it cost you a job.

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