Jack TenneyExtra Point

by Jack Tenney, Publisher

May 2009


What is it about failure that is so much more interesting than success? 

When you think about it, you’ve probably had more success than failure, with the possible exception of a baseball hitter who is cheered if he can succeed more than 30 percent of the time. 

But in business, you know, the old standard was 51 percent. If you could be right more than wrong, you could achieve great things. 

Could that be right? 

You’re allowed 36 putts a round against par in golf, assuming you get on every green in regulation.  So if you make more than half your putts and never, never, ever three-putt you’re probably better than a scratch player. 


In the stock market, if you have trailing stop-losses at 10 percent and take half your gains every time you exceed 20 percent, doesn’t that  work? Well, okay, not last year, but shouldn’t that generally work? 

Actually, Vince Lombardi had it all wrong, not only is winning not everything it’s not the only thing. Losing, as in failure, not making the grade, stumbling, staggering, failing, is the crucible that delivers the life experiences that mature you, steel you, make you interesting, even. 

Look at this way: If you bowled 300 every time you joined the group for beer frames or whatever, you’d not only lose all your friends, you’d have a drinking problem. 

So rather than toot your horn about all your accomplishments, fess up to  a few (you’ve got more than two) shortfalls and feel the glow. Admit it: You’re very much like everyone else — a  little short of perfection. 

Actually, I can’t think of a single failure to confess to. But, hey, that’s me, and I’ve been writing this stuff for 25 years, so what do you expect?