Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans


Several decades ago, a high school teacher demanded to know the meaning of the abbreviation ‘OHVZ’ on my school tests. He was angry and I was flabbergasted. I told him it meant “Op Hoop Van Zegen“, or Hoping For The Best. He had been convinced my abbreviation carried a hidden insult towards him.

I suppose he and I both dealt with our mutual fear of failure in a different way.

I’ve never been a mediocre student. My teacher made a similar argument. Hence, his suspicion that it might be a specific (Dutch) insult (ie, Ouwe Hoer Vuile Zak). His suspicion was weird to me because he was one of my favourite teachers. I had no problem with his request to stop using that abbreviation.

My 2016 blog, Fear of Failure, argues that this feeling of failure relates to our self-esteem and the self-worth theory of motivation, as developed by (a.o.) John Atkinson (1923-2003).

With the knowledge of hindsight, I suppose my self-esteem was average. My self-esteem had been hurt by the school advice my parents had received: I was too young for my age. Actually, that advice made me a fighter because I was determined to prove that this school advice had been wrong.

My self-esteem has improved over the years but never in accordance with the successes that I accomplished. Perhaps, that is a reason why I’ve adopted the small-BIG principle and why I dislike arrogance.

I suppose that the feeling of failure will never leave me. Once in a while, it pops up and usually when I’m not feeling at my strongest – emotionally speaking. I don’t really mind that feeling as it keeps me grounded.

Some relevant quotes on failure:

  • “Sometimes we win, sometimes we learn.” A quote by Robert Kiyosaki, American businessman and author.
  • “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” A quote by Michael Jordan, an American businessman and former professional basketball player.
  • “Success is most often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.” A quote by Coco Chanel.
  • “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” A quote by Ken Robinson.
  • See Forbes’ list of 30 powerful quotes on failure.

Failure Is Part of Success (2012) by Eduardo Zanatta

Note: all markings (bold, italic, underlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.


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