I remember the distinct annoyance of the rigumroll of applying to high school. As an eighth grader, I remember being in a confusing vortex. On one hand, kids my age were often over-committed with a full schedule of extra curricular activities and an amount of homework that could only be explained by insecure teachers that resolved expectations of them by tripling down on the work volume of their students. On the other hand, we’re all subject to the ridiculous stress of admissions tests and interviews with administrators three times our age to see if we’re fit to learn from them.
Ultimately, I went to a local high school in Santa Monica and it was a wildly successful experience. I’m not here to talk to you about that, however.
The reason for me sharing this story (and others like it) is the winner’s circle bias that curates unrealistic evaluations of success in others. We become over exposed to winning stories and never fully integrate failures inside of those stories. When contrasted with our own experience, we become acutely aware of our own failures in ways that can make success feel distant and unrelatable.
I applied to two high schools. I remember coming home from middle school and getting the letter from my first choice school in the mail. I knew it was the letter telling me whether I got in or was denied. I opened it quickly in front of my father. It was a single page. “We regret to inform you..”
Before I could feel bad for myself, my dad hugged me and said, “Hey..” Making sure he had my attention he continued, “fuck ‘em..” The first thoughts of reflection that came in the subsequent days were confusing.
“How am I going to have any of the lofty success I keep talking about if I’m not even accepted into high school?!”
To come full circle, this embarrassing failure was resolved with a pretty good run on a high school career (4.42 GPA, All-State Athlete, NCAA Div. I Scholarship, etc). These are the things that normally get shared about my high school experience. While these are true, so is the blatant failure that I didn’t even get accepted into the first school I tried.
While I’m not the model for success, I do plan to contribute to a more transparent view of success. I’d like to continue this series with my own stories and the stories of others. In the meantime, integrate failure into your view of remarkable success… please and thank you.
Submit Your Score to the Digital Whiteboard
Complete 4 rounds for quality of:
6 Plyometric Push Ups
12 Push Ups
:30 Forward Plank from hands
Then, complete 4 rounds for quality of:
10 Tuck Jumps
:45 Isometric Squat Hold
Then, complete 5 rounds for quality of:
20 Towel Pass Throughs
25 Behind the Neck Towel Presses
30 Alternating Reverse Lunges with OH Reach