Posts Tagged 'entertainment'

Ooooh Sony… how we hate you… let me count the ways!

Last week Xbox 360 had an update to their User Interface… along with it came a few other new enhancements like the Netflixstreaming feature allowing users who are Netflix subscribers to stream up to 12,000 titles to their home theaters.  Well… apparently Sony didn’t like the idea of Microsoft streaming Sony movies (from LA Times and Motley Fool)?  So Sony decided pull 200 of their titles from being able to stream to the Xbox 360… the Roku player and PC will still work fine.  Sony this is exactly why we hate you… your arrogance and bully attitude is what leads you to think about your self-interests over your customers’ interests.  Just so you know… I used to be pretty loyal to the Sony brand… but over the last 5 years I have not made a Sony purchase – after this move I will try to make it at least another 5 years before I buy another one of your products.

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Being an afterthought?

So here is the question… is it an insult to be an afterthought or should we consider ourselves lucky to be thought of at all?  My case in point was last night when at 5:45 pm I received a call from Dave K. asking if I wanted to attend the premier of the new Dark Night Batman movie that night at 7:00 pm – across town mind you.  I declined to spend more time with my family but got to think about it later that evening… I must have been 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or more on his list… what does that mean?  I was an afterthought!  I am still not sure how to feel about that… upset that I get the gametime call to suit-up or thrilled that I was even considered for the part of the sidekick?  Hmmm…

Failure as a tool to understand who we are?

Can we for a second go back to one of my favorite topics… Failure?  J.K. Rowling delivered her commencement address to Harvard last Thursday, entitled “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination.  (See Video)

In her address, J.K comments that “What I feared most for myself at your age was not poverty, but failure.”  She goes on to state that:

“However, the fact that you are graduating from Harvard suggests that you are not very well-acquainted with failure. You might be driven by a fear of failure quite as much as a desire for success. Indeed, your conception of failure might not be too far from the average person’s idea of success, so high have you already flown academically.

Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria if you let it. So I think it fair to say that by any conventional measure, a mere seven years after my graduation day, I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless. The fears my parents had had for me, and that I had had for myself, had both come to pass, and by every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.

Now, I am not going to stand here and tell you that failure is fun. That period of my life was a dark one, and I had no idea that there was going to be what the press has since represented as a kind of fairy tale resolution. I had no idea how far the tunnel extended, and for a long time, any light at the end of it was a hope rather than a reality.

So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had already been realised, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.

You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.

Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above rubies.

The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more to me than any qualification I ever earned.

Given a time machine or a Time Turner, I would tell my 21-year-old self that personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a check-list of acquisition or achievement. Your qualifications, your CV, are not your life, though you will meet many people of my age and older who confuse the two. Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond anyone’s total control, and the humility to know that will enable you to survive its vicissitudes.”

Kudos to J.K. Rowling… and to my hypothesis… in the absence of life or death circumstances, we NEED to celebrate failure… personal failure, work failure, and community failure… because it is only after peering into the abyss that we truly understand who we are.


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