Kings 6:1 dates the Exodus to 480 years before the founding of Jerusalem’s temple by King Solomon. According to the orthodox chronology this gives a date of around 1450 BC. However, Exodus 1:11 states that Pharaoh put the Hebrews to work on the cities of Pithom and Raamses. The location of Pithom is in doubt, but the city of Raamses is thought to be Pi-Ramsses built by Ramesses II (orthodox dates 1279-1212BC). As a result, it is usually suggested that the Israelites actually worked on a settlement in the same location as Pi-Ramesse which predated it. A stele from the reign of Merenptah (the successor of Ramesses II) notes that “Israel is laid waste, bare of seed,” confirming that the exodus must have taken place before his reign (given the forty year sojourn in the desert), dated as 1212-1202 BC (orthodox chronology).
The name “Moses” may be the Egyptian name “Moses” or “Messes” meaning born of. This was usually combined with the name of a god (eg Thuth-moses or Ra-messes). However, the name may also come from the Hebrew verb “Masha” (to draw out) and be translated as “he draws out”. In Exodus 2:10, Pharaohs daughter states that she gave him his name “Because I drew him out of the water”, perhaps she chose an Egyptian pun on a Hebrew name to reflect his origin.
Moses apparently belonged to a group of Semitic settlers whose ancestors had arrived in Egypt from the land of Canaan. People from Canaan had settled the delta since the middle of the Twelfth Dynasty (the Middle Kingdom). Remains from the settlement at Tell el-Dab’a in the Delta, confirm that the settlers were Semitic nomads and pastoralists, like the Hebrews. This settlement grew and developed into the Hyksos capital of Avaris, and was later swallowed up by Piramesse.
According to the modern translation of the Bible, Moses prophesised the advent of the “ten plagues of Egypt” and then escaped with the Israelites via the Red Sea. Pharaoh gave chase and God saved the Israelites by parting the waters to allow them safe passage. Pharaoh’s charioteers were all lost.
WE USE “The real measure of success is the number of experiments that can be crowded into 24 hours.” —Thomas Edison
Most projects start with confidence. We’re going to crush this! Then come the mistakes. We squirm. We become riddled with self-doubt. Suddenly the prospect of success seems like a dim light bulb.
At some point, though, we come to accept that screwing up is a key part of the creative process. Think about how kids play: They don’t think, they just do. And if the whole contraption comes crashing to the floor, they laugh at the mess and start over. (Or throw a fit, but hey, they’re learning about emotion, too!) Point is, when you embrace setbacks and don’t let them cripple you, you’re more likely to get across the finish line.
Maybe we should stop talking about failure and call our botched projects “experiments.” And let’s take a cue from Edison and crowd as many experiments into 24 hours as we can. Here are eight ways to fail your way forward.
1. Keep it basic Don’t start by trying to find a fully developed solution to a problem. Keep fidelity low at first to allow others to see the possibility in the idea, not the flaws. The higher the polish, the more likely you’ll get the wrong kind of feedback.
2. Design impossible tasks Such as: How might we create a new color? How might we live forever? Moonshoot thinking frees us from limiting ourselves, helping us produce a bunch of wild ideas. None of them will be right, but they’ll rev the engine of our imagination.
3. Don’t assume your final format What are you making? Will you be hand sketching? Wireframing? Sculpting out of modeling clay? Drafting a written piece? Even when our end goal is to end up on screen, it is often helpful to start in a different medium—and maybe a tactile one.
4. Set a goal for failure Follow this advice from 100 Days of Rejection by Jian Jiang: “We will fail at least 30 times before we figure out the right solution.” Lowering the stakes and making a solution less precious makes it easier to generate a bounty of ideas to build from.
5. “This is a bad idea, but…” Every time you throw out an idea, start with, “This is a bad idea, but what if…” That helps you practice non-attachment and prepare for the reality that most of your ideas won’t stick.
6. The Shame Gong Every time someone makes a mistake or fails, hit the gong and have the team whisper “shame” in unison. It actually lowers the barrier for admitting to failure and makes for more honest, less bullshitty brainstorms. It also lightens the mood when you’re struggling with a particularly tough challenge or client. Plus: Ringing a gong is just fun. Missed a line item from the plan? Shame. Couldn’t guess the grape of the wine at happy hour? Shame!
7. The mis-name game Walk around the room and loudly, courageously, and boldly point at objects and yell out the wrong name for them. Do this for three to four minutes. Then pause and debrief. What was that like? Why was it difficult? There is a stubborn voice in your head telling you what is wrong, infeasible, impractical, too risky. The exercise reminds us that there’s a voice enforcing our fear of failure that can overpower our ability to take creative risks. Our job is to learn how to quiet that voice at the right moments to break out of the expected.
8. Worst experience ever Design the WORST _blank_ experience ever (airplane/shopping/dining/laundry) and really encourage people to visualize it. Then use that to design the best version using an insight you learned from the worst. So, if the worst dining experience involved a waiter who would not leave you alone on a romantic date, what does that say about the key elements that make or break a date?
One final note for aspiring leaders: Don’t be afraid to talk about past failures and what you learned from them. Admitting failure will help your team gracefully shut down initiatives that aren’t working and move on to the next thing. Now get out there and gong.
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