In New Rochelle Talk, Author Shares Alternative Take On Failure

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Author and historian Sarah Lewis visited The College of New Rochelle to discuss her new book.
Author and historian Sarah Lewis visited The College of New Rochelle to discuss her new book. Photo Credit: Contributed

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- Author and historian Sarah Lewis visited The College of New Rochelle to discuss her new book "The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure and the Search for Mastery." 

Lewis told the crowd gathered at the college that "the events we call failures can lay the groundwork for the most iconic and creative endeavors -- from Nobel Prize-winning discoveries and entrepreneurial innovations, to spectacular athletic achievements and stunning works of art," according to a press release. Lewis spoke of her own experiences with failure.

"She aspired to be a painter in high school, and won top honors at a regional competition one year," representatives said. "She entered the same competition the following year, and went home with no accolades. It was a dispiriting development, but she wrote about the event in her application to Harvard. Not only was she accepted, but her essay made enough of an impression that an admissions officer remembered it years later upon meeting Lewis."

Lewis told of choreographer Paul Taylor, who pursued his minimalist style despite audiences that walked out and a review that consisted of just blank space below the headline. Lewis showed a photo of Martin Luther King Jr.'s high school report card, pointing out his grade of C in public speaking, according to the release. 

"Her examples highlighted 'grit' as a key attribute of success, demonstrated the importance of knowing when to give up and reevaluate one's approach, and explained how 'near wins' inspired people to work harder," representatives said. 

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