Princeton Professor's "Resume Of Failures" Is A Testament To The Importance Of Failing

Though we know that our failures aren't what count — it's what we do with them that matters — sometimes it can be difficult to really remember when all we see on social media is the highlight reel of people's lives, only the most curated and noteworthy. This is why one Princeton professor shared his resume of failures: to prove that not only are you more than what you've overcome, but oftentimes, failure is one of the most crucial parts of the process.

Johannes Haushofer, an assistant professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton University, has done some pretty remarkable things in his life. His work around psychology and poverty has culminated in a 17-year academic career, during which he earned a B.A. from Oxford, a Ph.D. from Harvard, and a second doctorate in economics from the University of Zurich. He opened the Busara Center for Behavioral Economics in Kenya as a Harvard Prize Fellow in an effort to study how poverty affects economic decision-making, has won numerous scholarship awards, and has written 33 academic articles.

Needless to say, his life has been beyond impressive — or so it would seem at first glance. “Most of what I try fails,” wrote Haushofer on his "alternative résumé," on which he listed all of his setbacks and failures. “But these failures are often invisible, while the successes are visible.” Inspired by a 2010 article written by Melanie Stefan, a lecturer at the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Edinburgh, he wanted to provide some perspective to anyone who may think success is a linear, simple thing. He explained that his traditional CV “gives others the impression that most things work out for me,” which may make them feel their own failures are personal.

The alternative CV lists all the programs he didn't get into and the awards and scholarships he didn't get, seemingly nothing but a long, long list of disappointments and rejections.

The point, of course, is that failure is just part of the process, and it's pretty incredible to see how much someone so incredibly successful has had to fail just to make it to where he is in life. Check out the rest of his failure résumé here, and simultaneously feel comforted and inspired. You're probably doing better than you think you are.

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