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Monday, March 31, 2008

Preparation F: Failure Counseling Strategies

Don´t listen to him.

Preparation F: Failure Counseling Strategies

The self-help section of the bookstore is bursting with books on success. All of the self-proclaimed, self-help gurus offer to help you become some sort of enormous triumph. They claim that they can teach you to cope with being a winner. I’m no Tony Robbins but I don’t think people need to be prepared for victory. We dream about it all our lives. Maybe we need to prepare for losing? Any of these gurus who say that, “Failure is not an option,” didn’t see my NCAA Tournament picks. Failure is almost always a very, very viable option.

Everyone remembers the drill. You are ten years old. You’re standing out on the court all by yourself fantasizing about hitting the final free throw to win March Madness. As a little kid I never remember standing at the free throw line imagining missing the last shot in the big game. I never remember even being nervous about all the pressure that you are supposed to feel in this situation. I had ice water flowing through my skinny little veins. I didn’t even get flustered when the first barrage of shots I threw up were total bricks; I would always sink one before it got dark and win the big game. Like every other normal, red-blooded American kid, I also fantasized that after the game I’d do a line of coke off of a cheerleader’s butt, then after a night of drunken revelry, I’d get arrested on a DUI charge. I was preparing myself for success.

If there is a little kid out there who day-dreams about screwing up the big game, a kid who stands at the line and dreams of tanking the final shot, I want to meet him. I wasn’t that original growing up. If there ever was a kid who dreamed about fucking up the final shot, he’s probably a pretty well-adjusted adult by now who has moved on to adult issues while the rest of us still think we have a shot of pitching a no-hitter in the World Series, hitting a hole-in-one at the Masters, or winning the Tour de France.

Everyone can handle success. As much as people think that Britney Spears is a waste of space, could you imagine how fucked up her life would be if she didn’t have a thick pad of American currency to break her falls? Teaching people to fail takes real talent. That’s why I have developed Failure Counseling Strategies. Not only can I help assuage your grief about totally blowing that last shot, I can make all of the losers like me feel better about not even making the team in the first place (What team did Tony Robbins take to the NCAA Championship?). Find comfort in these words of wisdom:

“Hey, at least you tried…a little.”

“You need to make more money? That´s crazy talk, man. You´ll just have to pay more taxes. Have a beer.”

“Fuck it. Just quit. You’ve got nothing to prove.”

“She must be a lesbian if she doesn’t want to go out with you. What other reason could there possibly be?”

“A winner never quits and a quitter can get a partial refund on that gym membership you never use.”

“You gotta die of something. Am I right? Care for a cigarette?”

“Sure, you could stop drinking or you could finally accept yourself for the drunk that you are. Don’t be so judgmental about yourself.”

Believe it or not, there are a lot of advantages to coming in last. For one, it makes it a lot easier to improve yourself the next time around. I mean, if losing is good enough for the Seattle Mariners, it should be good enough for me, right? I wouldn’t want the team to feel uncomfortable because I decided to become some kind of big shot success story. I just want to be, like, you know, one of the guys.

I don’t know about you but I feel better about myself already. I think that I’ll knock off for the rest of the day, hit the free happy hour buffet, and watch Sports Center. The best thing about preparing to fail is that, once you get the hang of it, it’s really easy.

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