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Ever heard of a failure resume?

The simple but counterintuitive idea was first popularized by Stanford professor Tina Seelig. In her course on creativity and innovation, she requires students to write resumes that focus on their failures instead of their successes and accomplishments.

The personal exercise is meant to help people reshape how they view their own shortcomings and missteps — and to see them instead as experiences of growth and learning.


Photo via Alessandro Valli/Flickr.

Earlier this year, Ogilvy and Mather creative Jeff Scardino took that idea a step further and made the private exercise public.

Using his own failure resume template that he calls the " Relevant Resume," he applied for 10 positions that he considered himself qualified for. He sent in two separate applications for each position, with different names and addresses. One was his traditional resume full of accomplishments, awards, and impressive references. The other was the "relevant resume," which highlighted his "missed honors," "non-skills" (things he is not good at), and "bad references" from people who would have less-than-glowing things to say about him.

Image via Jeff Scardino/Vimeo.

And the results were pretty amazing.

The standard resume received one response and zero meeting requests. The "relevant resume"? Eight responses and five meeting requests.

Apparently, companies appreciated his creativity and honesty. But even those who saw it as a joke were intrigued enough to reach out to him. And that's never a bad thing.

You can check out the video he made recapping the experiment below. His project is just one in a string of efforts in recent years to emphasize the importance of failure. Heard any of these recently?

"Fail fast, fail often!"
"Failure is the building block of innovation!"
"Success begins with failure."

Failure is in and fear of failure is out.

And for good reason. As scientists and serial entrepreneurs know all too well, failure can lead to huge gains — and teach us a lot in the process.

But before you go out Monday morning and apply for jobs using this template or run head-first into your next loss, let me give you the "real talk" that I always long for when creatives, researchers, tech gurus, and Silicon Valley investors discuss failure so glowingly.

All failure isn't created equal.

Thumbnail image via amboo who?/Flickr.

In my experience, a person's level of comfort with failure is affected by a few factors that I don't hear failure evangelists acknowledge enough:

How wide and strong is your safety net?

What's at stake?

And how likely is it that you will be "given" another chance to try again without penalty?

Failure may be scarier for some of us than it is for others because of those factors. And rightfully so. It's much easier to quit your job, follow your dreams, and fail when you don't have mouths to feed and aren't living paycheck to paycheck. Or invest your last dime in a wild business idea if you can move back in with mommy and daddy when it fails. Or experiment at work and do something fun and crazy in a meeting that totally humiliates you when you're not already being doubted because of your gender, age, or race. Get what I mean?

So what's a no-safety-net-having, a-lot-to-lose, already-got-a-few-societal-strikes-against-me person to do? Should you always play it safe and risk nothing?

Of course not! No risk, no reward, right? You deserve all the rewards like growth, innovation, and new opportunities just as much as anyone else.

But in my personal journey as a non-Ivy-League-educated woman of color without a tremendous financial safety net, I had to realize that failure and risk might look a bit different for me than it does for the average Mark Zuckerberg.

What I think I look like in my head. Photo via iStock.

I learned that it was important to always have a strong network of emotional support full of people who understand my unique circumstances. And I learned that I don't have to risk it all to reap some benefits. Small risks — like doing something you think is a bit "too hard," trying something new, or following your dreams but with a bit more planning — are just as valuable to your growth as submitting a pretty off-the-wall resume or committing some radical act of fearlessness.

The purpose of all of this failure talk — even when it sounds lofty — is, at its core, actually pretty universal:

Don't let your fear of discomfort and negative results hold you back from taking risks that have the potential to move you forward and help you become who you want to become.

If a failure resume can help you do that, you're just one quick download away. Give it a try.

Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via Dion Merrick / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.09.21


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"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

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Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

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