Success Teaches Very Little, Failure Teaches Almost Everything

The latest from the safe spaces of American schools is the abandonment of the valedictorian. Why? Competition is bad --- or so they say.

One of Glenn's favorite movies lines comes from Dan Aykroyd in the original Ghostbusters: "You don't know what it's like out in the private sector: They expect results."

RELATED: High Schools Abandon Valedictorian Because Competition Is Bad

"This whole idea that I don't have any responsibility to be my best self, that I don't have any responsibility to compete in life . . . how do you think we got the lightbulb? That was a literal competition between people in France, people in the United States, Edison, Tesla. I mean, people were competing to be the first one to bring a lightbulb. What do you think Tesla is all about? Being the first to go to Mars. What do you think Apple is all about?"

If you want something bad enough --- like being the valedictorian or getting first place in the science project --- what does it take? What if you fail and don't succeed? Will that make you better? Will competition make you try harder to succeed?

"I've learned much more from my failings than I ever have from my successes. Because my successes don't make me question anything," Glenn said Monday on radio. "I don't know what actually caused my success here or there. I can speculate, but I haven't had to go like, 'Oh crap, honey, I don't know why we're successful. How did we succeed? Where did we go right?' I haven't done any of that. Every time I have a failure, I am going, 'Where did we go wrong?'

Success teaches very little.

"Failure teaches almost everything important --- if you choose to view it that way," Glenn said.

Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:

GLENN: Hello, America. According to the National Association of Secondary School Principals, nearly half of all high schools in the United States no longer report any class rank.

PAT: Wow.

GLENN: This is according to the Associated Press. The graduation tradition of naming a senior class valedictorian is slowly fading into history. In areas where the tradition continues, more students are being named at the head of the class. Helena, Montana.

PAT: Wait. Twenty-five. Twenty-five valedictorians.

GLENN: How many people are in the Helena, Montana --

PAT: Well, in the graduating class -- in my class, there was 460 or something. So it's probably fairly sizeable.

GLENN: So here's -- listen to this: The reason is because administrators are recently concerned about, quote, unhealthy competition.

PAT: This is so ridiculous.

GLENN: And students feeling pressure to perform better than their peers.

I know. Because in real life, that never happens.

PAT: Never happens. You don't have to compete with anybody for anything.

GLENN: No. Uh-uh. Everything is just handed -- you know one of my favorite lines from Ghostbusters, the original Ghostbusters -- do you know what -- Jeffy.

JEFFY: Yeah, the Bill Murray line, where he talks about they make you work out there, right?

PAT: Yeah.

GLENN: No, it's Dan Aykroyd. Dan Aykroyd looks at him and says, "You don't know what this means. Yeah, you don't know what it's like out in the private sector: They expect results."


JEFFY: They expect results. Yeah.

PAT: Did you see this -- the Tennessee school, a magnate school in Tennessee awarded 48 valedictorians this year, 25 percent of the graduating class. (laughter)

GLENN: High school in Columbia, Maryland, ranked the students but kept the results private to each student. Of course, the students couldn't keep quiet where they landed. Two seniors from Hammond High School said that's what everybody talked about.

PAT: Man.

GLENN: It makes everything ten times more competitive. Some parents -- some parents don't like the competition, saying students place too much emphasis on rankings and it can lead to negative perceptions of themselves.

PAT: Oh, no. Oh, my gosh.

GLENN: Can I tell you something, you know what leads to negative perceptions of yourself? Living under a bridge. That one -- that, you will be like, I'm a homeless person.

No, no, no. You're not. No, you're not.

You are a person who has connected with the outdoors. Oh, I feel so much better now.

I'm a homeless person. Yes, because mommy and daddy never taught you about competition. Competition is good. Competition -- you know, this is why I really like cross country training, is competition is be the --

JEFFY: Wait.

GLENN: I know. That's why I'm so thin. Competition is about being better yourself. Can you better what you just did? Better your time?

That's -- that's -- I mean, yes, is there going to be a winner? Yes. But are you better?

Can you beat your own personal time? Can you be better? Yes.

This -- this whole idea that I don't have any responsibility to be my best self, that I don't have any responsibility to compete in life -- how do you think we got the lightbulb?

That was -- that was a literal competition between people in France, people in the United States, Edison, Tesla. I mean, people were competing to be the first one to bring a lightbulb. What do you think Tesla is all about? Being the first to go to Mars.

What do you think -- you know, what do you think Apple is all about?

PAT: Competing against Google and Microsoft and everybody else. Plus, the competition within the company itself, there's going to be a ton of competition.

GLENN: No, there's not.

PAT: Oh, they'll all get participation trophies. Right.

GLENN: Yes. Everybody lives in a very big house. Nobody drives -- in this particular case, it's true. Everybody drives a Prius. But everybody has exactly the same stuff. It's all equal outcomes. Steve Jobs, he didn't have more money than everybody else --

PAT: No. Yeah, I think you're going to find that's not the case.

GLENN: No, there was no competition there. No, no competition.

PAT: Not the case.

Even as liberal as Bill Gates is, he's got a 52,000-square-foot home. That's a little bit bigger than most of his employees.

STU: Really?

PAT: Yeah.

GLENN: No, I don't think so. No.

STU: Are you for sure?

GLENN: No, here's the truth. Stop listening to him.

Here's the truth: He takes Leonardo da Vinci's Codex, and everybody gets it over their fireplace for a month. If you work at Microsoft, everyone gets to hang Leonardo da Vinci's Codex over their fireplace for a month.

STU: Oh!

JEFFY: Nice!

PAT: Whether you're the janitor, or?

JEFFY: It doesn't matter.

GLENN: And there's no competition for it. It's just alphabetically assigned --

PAT: Okay. Every employee is just guaranteed to receive it?

GLENN: Yes. Guaranteed to receive it.

You hang it over your -- no matter what the deal is. You can be the employee on your way out. It doesn't matter.

PAT: Huh. Wow.

GLENN: You could be the employee that's stealing from the company. It doesn't matter. You get it.

Now, again, it's alphabetically assigned, but just because that's showing preference, they shuffle the alphabet.

PAT: Oh, that's good.

GLENN: So...

STU: And it always lands on Gates or Jobs or whatever.

GLENN: It would be Gates. It would be Gates. Why the lies?

STU: Well, it's interesting because you are the one that was propagating this idea that stealing is something that's possible, indicating that you believe in ownership, private ownership of the material. There's no such thing.

GLENN: Yeah, that was -- I'm sorry. That was the old Glenn coming out.

STU: Thank you. I'm glad finally you say that -- it's funny. They don't see competition as helpful. I mean, how do you not? I mean, look at all the benefits that have come out of it.

GLENN: Well, here's what I think the average person doesn't look and see as helpful.

The competition the way we have it -- we used to believe in this country, that it is your personal responsibility to be your best. To make your own way. To not be a burden on others.

And that you had a -- you had a blessing of getting an education. Now, it's not that. Now, it is -- especially you go to places like New York, they -- the parents will shiv you for a spot in a pre-nursery school.

PAT: Uh-huh.

GLENN: Because that pre-nursery school will lead you to the right kindergarten, which will lead you to the first -- the primary school and the secondary school. And you'll be able to get into Harvard. But if you -- if you drool too much in the pre-nursery school, they will tell you, "This is a sign that they're not going to make it to Harvard, and they really need to stop drooling so much." They're five months old.


GLENN: I mean, that's -- that's the unhealthy competition.

PAT: I think a lot of these parents though can't see beyond just their feelings right now, of feeling like, "Oh, gosh, I'm not -- I'm not number one in the class. So I'm worthless." Well, they're going to have deal with that. They're going to have to deal with that in life. And I don't know if they're looking forward -- they're so short-sighted.

GLENN: But it is, again, the parents. What happened when the school said, keep this to yourself? All the kids, they know they're competing.

PAT: Uh-huh.

STU: Right.

GLENN: It's natural. Who is better at this than -- you can't play sports unless it's always a tie. And even then, you're going to know, "When this guy gets up, he is going to slam this thing out of the park." We all have different skills.

STU: And sports, along with, you know, valedictorian races, it's a good, meaningless thing to teach that lesson on, right? Like, losing a sporting event in the grand scheme of your life is not that big of a deal, but it's a great way to learn the lesson of how to react after you lose. It's a great way to learn a lesson of how to work harder in the future.

PAT: Yes. And it's about the -- it's about the parents spinning that the right way for the child to help them understand and deal with that. Isn't that good parenting?

GLENN: And it's also important to understand this. And I think this is a great stat. Just read this one a couple weeks ago.

Valedictorians are not, generally speaking, the movers and the shakers of the next generation. They generally -- they'll get good jobs. But they're generally not the ones who are the big entrepreneurs. They're not the big moneymakers, et cetera, et cetera. Because of this: They are taught exactly what to think. They -- they -- they live in this box that is structured by college and high school.

And, really, honestly, what are you learning in high school? You're memorizing dates. You're taught to learn skills that you will never ever use again. Not the information.

The test-taking skills. The memorization of dates and names and places. When does that come in handy?

STU: So it makes -- I mean, it's not without value, right? Like these -- a lot of these people are making $100,000 a year at a good job.

GLENN: Discipline. Hard work and discipline.

STU: And they work well within the system, and there's a lot there.


STU: But I was listening to an interview with a guy who started Five Guys, you know, the burger place.

GLENN: Yeah. Yeah.

STU: It was a financial services guy. Goes in -- he decides he wants to start a burger place in New Jersey. I think it was New Jersey.

And he -- or, no, Virginia. Virginia. And he starts it. And he lets his kids pick out all the ingredients. You pick the best-tasting mayonnaise. Won't tell them anything about food costs. Won't tell them which one is more expensive because he wants them to just pick the best one. They pick the best one. This is a ridiculous way to run a business. They go to name the business. He has four kids. He's like, I don't know. Let's just call it Five Guys. We'll change it later.

Now there's 1500 locations. Because he decided he wanted to go -- he believed in the quality of the product. He decided to work hard and do it in a different way. He wasn't --

GLENN: So here's -- here's an interesting phrase that I'd like to share, that kind of goes into that.

Everybody says think out of the box. You got to think out of the box. You got to think out of the box.

Yes. If that box is flawed and doesn't provide you anything, but the same rubber stamp. But you don't want to think out of the box -- if you're creating a business. You want to create a new box. You have to -- you have to have framework -- like, I can't go into Five Guys. I know what it looks like. And say, you know what we're going to do, we're going to put up some fake grapes on the side here. We'll attract those people who usually go to an Italian restaurant. And we're going to put some of those really cheesy Chinese lamps hanging from the ceiling too because we'll attract those.

No, they have a box. They have a box. We're Five Guys. It looks like this. This is what we serve. The secret is, forget the box. Design your own box. And stay within your own box. But nobody is teaching that.

Everybody teaches, "Get out of the box," which says, there are no rules. There are rules. But in today's date, you have to find the rules that are eternal, like theft shouldn't be part of our business model.

STU: Yes, no, it's true. It's true.

And every one of the interviews with one of these crazy CEOs that does something different, there are 500 stories of people who try these things and failed. But that's the difference. That part of it is important. Many of those failures came from the same people who wound up succeeding later.

GLENN: Yes. They learned from that.

STU: You have to be able to embrace that failure.

PAT: Did that hurt their self-esteem for a while?

STU: Maybe.

PAT: It might have. It might have.

GLENN: It should.

STU: It should.

PAT: But they overcame it.

STU: They overcame it. Did things different the next time.

PAT: Wow. You mean that's possible?

GLENN: There is -- I have learned much more --

PAT: It's ridiculous.

GLENN: I've learned much more from my failings than I ever have from my successes. Because my successes don't make me question anything. My successes go, dig me. Look at this. Huh? How great is that?

I don't know what actually caused my success here or there. I can speculate, but I haven't had to put like, oh, crap. Honey, I don't know why we're successful. How did we succeed? Where did we go right?

I haven't done any of that. Every time I have a failure, I am going, "Where did we go wrong?" Success teaches you very little. Failure teaches you almost everything important, if you choose to view it that way.

Rapper Kendrick Lamar brings white fan onstage to sing with him, but here’s the catch

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for American Express

Rapper Kendrick Lamar asked a fan to come onstage and sing with him, only to condemn her when she failed to censor all of the song's frequent mentions of the “n-word" while singing along.

RELATED: You'll Never Guess Who Wrote the Racist Message Targeting Black Air Force Cadets

“I am so sorry," she apologized when Lamar pointed out that she needed to “bleep" that word. “I'm used to singing it like you wrote it." She was booed at by the crowd of people, many screaming “f*** you" after her mistake.

On Tuesday's show, Pat and Jeffy watched the clip and talked about some of the Twitter reactions.

“This is ridiculous," Pat said. “The situation with this word has become so ludicrous."

What happened?

MSNBC's Katy Tur didn't bother to hide her pro-gun control bias in an interview with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in the wake of the Santa Fe High School killings.

RELATED: Media Are Pushing Inflated '18 School Shootings' Statistic. Here Are the Facts.

What did she ask?

As Pat pointed out while sitting in for Glenn on today's show, Tur tried to “badger" Paxton into vowing that he would push for a magical fix that will make schools “100 percent safe." She found it “just wild" that the Texas attorney general couldn't promise that schools will ever be completely, totally safe.

“Can you promise kids in Texas today that they're safe to go to school?" Tur pressured Paxton.

“I don't think there's any way to say that we're ever 100 percent safe," the attorney general responded.

What solutions did the AG offer?

“We've got a long way to go," Paxton said. He listed potential solutions to improve school safety, including installing security officers and training administrators and teachers to carry a gun.

Pat's take:

“Unbelievable," Pat said on today's show. “Nobody can promise [100 percent safety]."

Every president from George Washington to Donald Trump has issued at least one executive order (with the exception of William Harrison who died just 31 days into his presidency) and yet the U.S. Constitution doesn't even mention executive orders. So how did the use of this legislative loophole become such an accepted part of the job? Well, we can thank Franklin Roosevelt for that.

Back at the chalkboard, Glenn Beck broke down the progression of the executive order over the years and discussed which US Presidents have been the “worst offenders."

RELATED: POWER GRAB: Here's how US presidents use 'moments of crisis' to override Constitutional law

“It's hard to judge our worst presidential overreachers on sheer numbers alone," said Glenn. “However, it's not a shock that FDR issued by far the most of any president."

Our first 15 presidents issued a combined total of 143. By comparison, Franklin D. Roosevelt issued 3721, more than twice the next runner up, Woodrow Wilson, at 1803.

“Next to FDR, no other president in our history attempted to reshape so much of American life by decree, until we get to this guy: President Obama," Glenn explained. “He didn't issue 3000, or even 1800; he did 276 executive orders, but it was the power of those orders. He instituted 560 major regulations classified by the Congressional Budget Office as having 'significant economic or social impacts.' That's 50 percent more regulations than George W. Bush's presidency — and remember, everybody thought he was a fascist."

President Obama blamed an obstructionist Congress for forcing him to bypass the legislative process. By executive order, President Obama decreed the U.S. join the Paris Climate Accord, DACA, the Clean Power Plan and transgender restrooms. He also authorized spying in US citizens through section 702 of FISA, used the IRS to target political opponents and ordered military action in Libya without Congressional permission.

All of these changes were accepted by the very people who now condemn President Trump for his use of executive orders — many of which were issued to annul President Obama's executive orders, just as President Obama annulled President Bush's executive orders when he took office … and therein lies the rub with executive orders.

“That's not the way it's supposed to work, nor would we ever want it to be," said Glenn. “We have to have the Constitution and laws need to originate in Congress."

Watch the video above to find out more.

Six months ago, I alerted readers to the very attractive benefits that the TreasuryDirect program offers to investors who are defensively sitting on cash right now.

Since then, those benefits have continued to improve. Substantially.

Back in November, by holding extremely conservative short-term (i.e., 6-months or less) Treasury bills, TreasuryDirect participants were receiving over 16x more in interest payments vs keeping their cash in a standard bank savings account.

Today, they're now receiving over 30 times more. Without having to worry about the risk of a bank "bail-in" or failure.

So if you're holding cash right now and NOT participating in the TreasuryDirect program, do yourself a favor and read on. If you're going to pass on this opportunity, at least make it an 'eyes-wide-open' decision.

Holding Cash (In Treasurys) Now Beats The Market

There are many prudent reasons to hold cash in today's dangerously overvalued financial markets, as we've frequently touted here at

Well, there's now one more good reason to add to the list: holding cash in short-term Treasurys is now meeting/beating the dividend returns offered by the stock market:

"Cash Is King" Again - 3-Month Bills Yield More Than Stocks (Zero Hedge)
'Reaching for yield' just got a lot easier...
For the first time since February 2008, three-month Treasury bills now have a yield advantage over the S&P; 500 dividend yield (and dramatically lower risk).
Investors can earn a guaranteed 1.90% by holding the 3-month bills or a risky 1.89% holding the S&P; 500...

The longest period of financial repression in history is coming to an end...

And it would appear TINA is dead as there is now an alternative.

And when you look at the total return (dividends + appreciation) of the market since the start of 2018, stocks have returned only marginally better than 3-month Treasurys. Plus, those scant few extra S&P; points have come with a LOT more risk.

Why take it under such dangerously overvalued conditions?

If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em

In my June report Less Than Zero: How The Fed Killed Saving, I explained how the Federal Reserve's policy of holding interest rates at record lows has decimated savers. Those who simply want to park money somewhere "safe" can't do so without losing money in real terms.

To drive this point home: back in November, the average interest rate being offered in a US bank savings account was an insutling 0.06%. Six months later, nothing has changed:


That's virtually the same as getting paid 0%. But it's actually worse than that, because once you take inflation into account, the real return on your savings is markedly negative.

And to really get your blood boiling, note that the Federal Reserve has rasied the federal funds rate it pays banks from 1.16% in November to 1.69% in April. Banks are now making nearly 50% more money on the excess reserves they park at the Fed -- but are they passing any of that free profit along to their depositors? No....

This is why knowing about the TreasuryDirect program is so important. It's a way for individual investors savvy enough to understand the game being played to bend some of its rules to their favor and limit the damage they suffer.

Below is an updated version (using today's rates) of my recap of TreasuryDirect, which enables you to get over 30x more interest on your cash savings than your bank will pay you, with lower risk.


For those not already familiar with it, TreasuryDirect is a service offered by the United States Department of the Treasury that allows individual investors to purchase Treasury securities such as T-Bills, notes and bonds directly from the U.S. government.

You purchase these Treasury securities by linking a TreasuryDirect account to your personal bank account. Once linked, you use your cash savings to purchase T-bills, etc from the US Treasury. When the Treasury securities you've purchased mature or are sold, the proceeds are deposited back into your bank account.

So why buy Treasuries rather than keep your cash savings in a bank? Two main reasons:

  • Much higher return: T-Bills are currently offering an annualized return rate between 1.66-2.04%. Notes and bonds, depending on their duration, are currently offering between 2.6% - 3.1%
  • Extremely low risk: Your bank can change the interest rate on your savings account at any time -- with Treasury bills, your rate of return is locked in at purchase. Funds in a bank are subject to risks such as a bank bail-in or the insolvency of the FDIC depositor protection program -- while at TreasuryDirect, your funds are being held with the US Treasury, the institution with the lowest default risk in the country for reasons I'll explain more in a moment.

Let's look at a quick example. If you parked $100,000 in the average bank savings account for a full year, you would earn $60 in interest. Let's compare this to the current lowest-yielding TreasuryDirect option: continuously rolling that same $100,000 into 4-week T-Bills for a year:

  1. Day 1: Funds are transferred from your bank account to TreasuryDirect to purchase $100,000 face value of 4-week T-Bills at auction yielding 1.68%
  2. Day 28: the T-Bills mature and the Treasury holds the full $100,000 proceeds in your TreasuryDirect account. Since you've set up the auto-reinvestment option, TreasuryDirect then purchases another $100,000 face value of 4-week T-Bills at the next auction.
  3. Days 29-364: the process repeats every 4 weeks
  4. Day 365: assuming the average yield for T-Bills remained at 1.68%, you will have received $1,680 in interest in total throughout the year from the US Treasury.

$1,680 vs $60. That's a 27x difference in return.

And the comparison only improves if you decide to purchase longer duration (13-week or 26-week) bills instead of the 4-week ones:

Repeating the above example for a year using 13-week bills would yield $1,925. Using 26-week bills would yield $2,085. A lot better (34x better!) than $60.

Opportunity Cost & Default Risk

So what are the downsides to using TreasuryDirect? There aren't many.

The biggest one is opportunity cost. While your money is being held in a T-Bill, it's tied up at the US Treasury. If you suddenly need access to those funds, you have to wait until the bill matures.

But T-Bill durations are short. 4 weeks is not a lot of time to have to wait. (If you think the probability is high you may to need to pull money out of savings sooner than that, you shouldn't be considering the TreasuryDirect program.)

Other than that, TreasuryDirect offers an appealing reduction in risk.

If your bank suddenly closes due to a failure, any funds invested in TreasuryDirect are not in your bank account, so are not subject to being confiscated in a bail-in.

Instead, your money is held as a T-Bill, note or bond, which is essentially an obligation of the US Treasury to pay you in full for the face amount. The US Treasury is the single last entity in the country (and quite possibly, the world) that will ever default on its obligations. Why? Because Treasurys are the mechanism by which money is created in the US. Chapter 8 from The Crash Course explains:

As a result, to preserve its ability to print the money it needs to function, the US government will bring its full force and backing to bear in order to ensure confidence in the market for Treasurys.

Meaning: the US government won't squelch on paying you back the money you lent it. If required, it will just print the money it needs to repay you.

So, How To Get Started?

Usage of TreasuryDirect is quite low among investors today. Many are unaware of the program. Others simply haven't tried it out.

And let's be real: it's crazy that we live in a world where a 1.68-2.09% return now qualifies as an exceptionally high yield on savings. A lot of folks just can't get motivated to take action by rates that low. But that doesn't mean that they shouldn't -- money left on the table is money forfeited.

So, if you're interested in learning more about the TreasuryDirect program, start by visiting their website. Like everything operated by the government, it's pretty 'no frills'; but their FAQ page addresses investors' most common questions.

Before you decide whether or not to fund an account there, be sure to discuss the decision with your professional financial advisor to make sure it fits well with your personal financial situation and goals. (If you're having difficulty finding a good one, consider scheduling a free discussion with's endorsed financial advisor -- who has considerable experience managing TreasuryDirect purchases for many of its clients).

In Part 2: A Primer On How To Use TreasuryDirect, we lay out the step-by-step process for opening, funding and transacting within a TreasuryDirect account. We've created it to be a helpful resource for those self-directed individuals potentially interested in increasing their return on their cash savings in this manner.

Yes, we savers are getting completely abused by our government's policies. So there's some poetic justice in using the government's own financing instruments to slightly lessen the sting of the whip.

Click here to read Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)

NOTE: does not have any business relationship with the TreasuryDirect program. Nor is anything in the article above to be taken as an offer of personal financial advice. As mentioned, discuss any decision to participate in TreasuryDirect with your professional financial advisor before taking action.