Princeton Professor posts his Resumé of Failures for ‘when things aren’t going well’

It’s an inspirational message for all of us

The “myth of perfection” is something that has been buzzing around Princeton for the past year. Ever since freshman orientation, I’ve often been reminded that even if it seems like everyone else has their life together, I’m not the only one experiencing failure in some capacity.

This idea has always felt abstract. Different movements on campus have been trying to make it more clear to students, like the campaign in the Mathey dining hall this fall that printed out people’s anonymous worries and posted them on the walls, or the campaign going on right now that is giving out free duck laptop stickers, raising awareness for “The Duck Syndrome” – the idea that on the surface of the water, everything appears fine, but underneath the water, these ducks are paddling like mad to stay afloat!

The ideas are all the same. You are not alone. Princeton is hard for everyone, even if it seems that everyone has it easier than you.


Professor Johannes Haushofer

Professor Johannes Haushofer brings this message to a whole new level, putting out his “Resumé of Failures” for all to see. The message is clear: Success is the result of many failures, as long as you don’t let those failures bring you down or give up.



And, despite his last “Meta-Failure,” he did not do this for attention. In his explanation for posting this list, he says, “I’m hoping that it will be a source of perspective at times when things aren’t going well, especially for students and my fellow young researchers.”

So apply, try new things, and fail. Fail a lot. But don’t give up. It only takes one of those applications to be successful to change everything.

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