Blog Post #6: Just Freaking Be You

This week’s articles, particularly McGlade’s “Lessons From a Failed Social Entrepreneur” and “The World Needs You to See It with Fresh Eyes,” struck a chord. One of the main themes I captured was accepting things as they are and going with the flow. Our past guest Mike McGlade first made me think of this when he came into our class to share his story a few weeks ago. Even though, as someone mentioned, he appeared to be defeated, I thought him brave. Embarking on something so risky such as a startup, without much experience or support, is admirable. Though his business technically failed, he won as a human being, as cheeseball as that sounds.

His blog post on failure was very insightful. I would even go as far as to say he makes a stronger, more eloquent point in this blog; while failing sucks, it is something most people will go through. He made a point that stuck with me: not enough people talk about failure. Now whenever you pick up an issue of AdWeek or check the Google News technology section you hear of a couple of college kids who created the next big thing and are now dating Victoria Secret models, and oh, they probably can’t drink legally in the US yet. That is crazy. It makes me anxious. I feel like a failure. I am now in my mid twenties and I feel like my spirit animal is the grandma emoji, now with the appropriate skin tone at least! My point is, you read about these little freaks of nature but nobody really talks about the majority, the 99 percent who are failing, but failing better than most of us because they are just trying.

This brings us to the other reading, or video, I quite enjoyed: Eli Pariser’s commencement speech. His goal was to remind these then graduates that the world is run by people just like them. That no one is better than them for some reason, that we are all pretty similar. Reading this, I suddenly realized he was talking to us as well. Many of us are finding ourselves in this very same situation. In less than two months we will be wearing caps and gowns and being force-feed words of wisdom by a guest speaker at our own commencement, as we prepare to get launched into the ‘real-world.’ The world is not a scarey place, we have to make what we want of it instead of just waiting for someone else to do it. We must not fall victim to the bystander effect, but should tuck our shirts in, say ‘screw-it’ and just try. Even if we fail like McGlade, at least we tried, and that is better than most people. We will not know if the idea was worth investing in, if the job was worth taking, or if the move was worth packing for, if we do not try. It may not fall through, but it could set us up in another direction and shift the track we are on. Like our previous guest-speaker Benjamin, if we do not take advantage of opportunities, we may be losing out on other possibilities, like running a kickass newsletter. These readings, and this theme, are soothing. Currently there is a lot of uncertainty: school is ending, will we get jobs, how will bills be paid, will this thesis ever end, and so on. The theme, whether intentional or not, helped remind me that no matter how Type-A we are (pointing at self), some things you just gotta let go, and the things you are afraid to try, you need to try, because fear is not a valid excuse anymore. And if we fail, at least we failed trying.