Wednesday, June 15, 2011

commencement address from Jim Steen


Jim Steen, swim coach of Kenyon College (my alma mater) has the reputation of someone that really intuits how people think and what motivates them. This commencement address is full of some amazing insights on teaching, coaching as well as how to strive for success.

I particularly like some of the Scott Adams quotes

Adams further discusses the idea of "failing forward," which, in my mind, is not only invaluable from a career perspective, but also absolutely essential from a performance perspectiveAccording to the author, "If you're taking risks, and you probably should, you can find yourself failing 90 percent of the time. The trick (and, parents, you'll love this!) is to get paid while you're doing the failing, and to use the experience to gain skills that will be useful later. I failed at my first career in banking. I failed at my second career with the phone company. But you'd be surprised at how many of the skills I learned in those careers can be applied to almost any field, including cartooning. Students should be taught that failure is a process, not an obstacle."
Best of all is the lesson Adams offers on "attracting luck"a point on which I believe I've built an entire career. Adams suggests, "You can't manage luck directly, but you can manage your career in a way that makes it easier for luck to find you. To succeed, first you must do something. And if that doesn't work, which can be 90 percent of the time, do something else.Luck finds the doers."

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