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MSNBC Host Melissa Harris Perry's Two Major Failures, And How She Still Won


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Life is about winning, losing and then WINNING again, at least that’s MSNBC host Melissa Harris Perry's outlook on life. Catch the inspirational gems our fave MSNBC host dropped inside…

“When life throws you lemons, make lemonade.”

Well, while it’s very cliché, the phrase is the blueprint to success. Ask MSNBC host Melissa Harris Perry.

The TV personality suffered two major setbacks, one in her personal life and her career, but that didn’t stop her determination and drive. The wife, mom and powerful political talker now hosts her very own show, “Melissa Harris-Perry” on MSNBC. She’s also a professor at Wake University serving as the Maya Angelou Presidential Chair while teaching two courses, “Black Lives Matter” and “Wake The Vote.”

But, life wasn’t as “peachy keen” as it seems now. Melissa went through some hardships and failures, but she remained positive and looked at those setbacks as empowerment. Tools that would help her take her career and life to the next level. In fact, those failures put her ego in check.

In an interview with Phailure Inc, Melissa opens up about how failures can ultimately be a good thing in the long run and how she learned from the two biggest failures in her life: Not being promoted to full time professor at Princeton and getting a divorce. While the interview was conducted years ago (but just published for the first time this week), much of what she said still rings true. Pay attention, she drops some good wisdom all of us could benefit from.

Peep the highlights below:

On not being promoted at Princeton University:

"Certainly one failure that was very painful was not being promoted to the position of full professor at Princeton University. I talked a bit about this in the piece that Diversity in Higher Education did. Most people don't really understand how the academic world works. But basically I had a joint appointment. One of the departments which I had a joint appointment promoted me to full professor. The other department did not promote me. And the way that works is that if there is a split decision, then you are not promoted.

"You know, I already had tenure. I achieved one of the major goals that you have as a young academic. But I did not get to have the kind of final peace of being a full professor. There wasn't anything about this that meant my family couldn't eat. I could have kept my job at Princeton forever. But it certainly felt like failure. Anytime you submit yourself before judgement and your colleagues say, "no, I pass"... you know, that was certainly a failure in that I wanted to achieve it and I didn't."

"I am thrilled with what my outcome ended up being, and I quite likely would have left Princeton anyway for personal reasons because I wanted to be in New Orleans. But that failure will always be there. That I tried for something and I failed to get it. And that is happening at a time in my life when I have a ton of other successes, lots of great things going on. But even in the midst of all those big things, it shows that it is not an easy path and there are still failures along the way."

On getting a divorce after 5 years of marriage:

"Easily the biggest personal failure for me was that my first marriage ended in divorce. And whatever anybody says about divorce, it just sucks. Even if you know that it's better on the other side, even if you know the marriage itself couldn't be saved, there is just no way that divorce feels like anything else other than extraordinary personal failure. When you stand up there as a young person, you know I was 25 when I got married the first time -- when I said forever I absolutely meant it. It was not a joke. It was not a game. I meant forever when I said it. And we were divorced within five years and I had a young child. There is no doubt that the reverberations of that failure impact everything. They made me question my judgement, my ability to ever have the kind of personal life that I wanted. It impacted me financially. It impacted my daughter's life. It's one of those failures that keeps on giving. (laughs)"

On the benefits of failure:

"What all failures do -- whether they are small things or failing at my diet on any given day, or failing at something as big as trying to get promoted, or failing at my marriage -- any of those kind of failures are a very good ego check. (laughs) For me the hardest thing about having a public voice and a public life isn't the the negative blog comments or the hate letters -- I mean they are weird. But what's really the hardest is people that I don't know, saying that what I say matters or that they like or respect me. There is nothing easier than reading your own press and believing that you are invulnerable, that you can't be replaced, that you're the best things since sliced bread. A little failure -- failure and criticism can help to check that and remind you of our humanity. To remind you that you share with every other person the ups and the downs. And I think for me, the failures have always caused a lot of introspection, and honestly soul searching. It's probably true that my divorce had more spiritual effects on me than any other single life experience in terms of really getting me in touch with what I believe about the eternal, about God, about our responsibilities to us as humans. Typically I'm more likely to turn to God when I am failing and need help. (laughs)"

YAS to all of this! You can read her full interview here.

We love seeing her be so transparent about life's failures and turning them into wins!


Photo: Melissa's Twitter

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