Enlightened Capitalism

Essays about how to harness people's natural desire to create wealth and improve their quality of life to solve global problems such as war and poverty.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Educational Idea

Here's an idea I had for a new highschool class. This class would be mandatory for freshmen.


Over the centuries, failure has gotten a bum rap. Most people seem to think that failure is a negative thing, something you are not supposed to do.
Whereas in reality, ALL successful people fail constantly. In fact, the frequency and size of a persons failures is a reasonable measure of how successful that person is. People who avoid failure may succeed, but not at big things.
This course is an exploration of how big you can be. Success is great but each time you succeed, you are left with the question about whether you could have taken on something bigger. The only way to find your limits is to fail. Of course, you don't learn anything if you fail due to lack of effort or commitment -- sitting on the sidelines is not an option. In this course you will practice failing POWERFULLY. That means you give it your all, you put every ounce of everything you have into the endeavor.

Course Assignments:
Each week, choose one from the following list of assignments. You may choose the same one week after week, but you are responsible for reporting new and bigger failures each week.
1. Bring about a lasting peace agreement between Israel and Palestine.
2. Eliminate the smog over Mexico City, Tokyo, or Los Angeles.
3. Increase the worldwide cancer survival rate to at least 90% for 5 years.
4. Write a book, get it published, and have it be a best seller.
5. Win a Nobel Prize.
6. Earn $10 million in business.
7. Reforest a large enough area to offset the forests destroyed in the past century.
8. Set up a successful resort and spa in Liberia or Sudan.
9. Eliminate starvation.
10. Win a decathalon.
11. Write and perform a musical number that tops the charts.
12. Win a national beauty contest.
13. Get accepted with full scholarship to an Ivy League university.
14. Make a list of every person you know, and tell each one what you think about them and how you feel about them, and listen to them tell you what they think and feel about you, AND have each one of them sign an affidavit that they were honest and complete, they believed you were honest and complete, and it was a fully satisfying interaction.
15. Meet and talk with all your elected representatives, starting with city councilmembers, on up to the president of the USA. Tell each of them what you think about their policies, offer advice, and make a specific request of them as their constituent.
16. Release a motion picture which is a box office success.
17. Successfully market an electric car.
18. Create an operating system more popular than Microsoft Windows.
19. Make a fast food restaurant that serves only healthy food and make it more popular than McDonalds.
[More choices will be added before the course begins.]

Course Rules:
1. You are prohibited from doing anything immoral, illegal, unhealthy, or unethical in this course. Furthermore, you must create more wealth than you destroy.
2. You will be graded not only on your own failures, but also on the size and frequency of your classmates' failures. If you succeed at failing big, but your classmates fail small, then you fail small too. For anyone in the class to get an "A", everyone in the class must fail big.
3. When students report their failures to the class each day, the class will applaud correspondingly to how big the failure was.


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