Yesterday we brought you the speech by Paul Tudor Jones, the legendary hedge fund trader, about how to live with failure. It was delivered to ninth graders at the Buckley School, a tony private school. It was striking to us because it’s tone was much bleaker than the usual boosterism of school speeches this time of year.
But the Atlantic’s Megan McArdle says that the speech was too optimistic. The ultra-wealthy Jones and the kids he was talking to don’t know much about what real failure in life means, and probably never will. Their status all but precludes real failure.
This seems like a pretty safe bet when you’re talking to Buckley students, who have an ample safety net underneath them to allow them to bounce back from nearly any failure. But would he really say this to, say, a 55 year old man who’d just been fired from his sales job? Bad things–persistent bad things–happen to good people, and while it’s comforting to think of them as merely a waystation, for lots of people that isn’t really true. It only seems true to people who have been spectacular successes, because for them every failure actually just one more step towards the happy place they enjoy today. Sure, you can always rise over adversity. But a significant number of people will never again rise to the level they previously enjoyed.
Wow. Somebody must have had a rough week.
(Oh, and about the photo. That’s Megan Fox in the Transformers. We didn’t have a “McArdle looking sad” picture on file.)