Forget your accomplishments — how leaders inspire others by publicizing failure

Even the most accomplished professionals are plagued by feelings of inadequacy from time to time. Most of us experience some degree of inferiority when looking over the résumé of a friend or peer, as a chronicled list of others' stellar accomplishments often makes us acutely aware of our own failures and shortcomings.

But a résumé or a CV does not tell a person's full story. They do not include the many failures someone inevitably endures before they achieve the successes that ultimately get recorded.

That is why Johannes Haushofer, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology at Princeton (N.J.) University, published a "CV of Failures," which details degree programs he was didn't get into, research funding he was denied and paper rejections from academic journals, according to The Washington Post.

"Most of what I try fails, but these failures are often invisible, while the successes are visible," Dr. Haushofer wrote of his CV of Failures. "I have noticed that this sometimes gives others the impression that most things work out for me. As a result, they are more likely to attribute their own failures to themselves, rather than the fact that the world is stochastic, applications are crapshoots and selection committees and referees have bad days."

At the end of his CV of Failures, Dr. Haushofer includes a section for "meta-failures," of which he has one so far: "This darn CV of Failures has received way more attention than my entire body of academic work."

Dr. Haushofer noted that if his CV of Failures seems short, it is probably because he has likely forgotten to include some things. A longer list of failures could be a good thing — it means the person often tries new things, according to the report.

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