Cultural Center calls for essays for the Great American Think-off

There is an old story that goes: Thomas Edison made 10,000 attempts to create the light bulb. He was later asked, "How did it feel to fail 9,999 times?"...

There is an old story that goes: Thomas Edison made 10,000 attempts to create the light bulb. He was later asked, "How did it feel to fail 9,999 times?"

Whether that story is myth or fact, failure can be brutal, ugly and unpleasant--so why does it seem to be more public than success? On the other hand, the heirs of the Rockefellers, Kardashians and Hiltons who are deemed to be successful receive plenty of public attention. Looking in from the outside, can we tell if success or failure was more important in shaping these people's lives?

These are among some factors that could address the question for the 26th Annual Great American Think-Off: "Which plays a larger role in shaping one's life: Success or Failure?" Get your 750-word essay to the Cultural Center in New York Mills by April 1!

Essays can be submitted online at , by sending an email to , or through the post to Think-Off, car of Cultural Center, P.O. Box 246, New York Mills, MN 56567. Because April 1 is a Sunday this year, essays postmarked Monday, April 2 will be accepted.

Four essay winners, two on each side of the question, are chosen by May 1. They each win a $500 prize and a trip to New York Mills for the June 9 live debate where they have a chance to win the title of "America's Greatest Thinker!"


Find your inner armchair philosopher and enter the contest before April 1. The Think-Off committee eagerly awaits your inspiring stories, your touching anecdotes, and to find out how success or failure has shaped YOUR life.

For contest details and more information, visit or call the Cultural Center at 218-385-3339. Event tickets can be purchased online at .

About the Great American Think-Off:

Now in its 26th year, The Great American Think-Off is an exhibition of civil disagreement between powerful ideas being explored by everyday people. Designed to bring philosophy down from the ivory towers of academia and make it accessible for all, the contest has received national acclaim including coverage by C-SPAN, the New York Times, and The Today Show.

The Cultural Center, located in the rural farm and manufacturing town of New York Mills, Minnesota, sponsors this annual philosophy contest and encourages people of all ages and backgrounds to participate. The Cultural Center is a rural hub for creativity, community vitality, and lifelong learning in the arts. Since our incorporation in 1990, we have been passionate about connecting people to artists and rich cultural experiences in rural Minnesota, celebrating the local and being a window to the world.

To get a better sense of the Think-Off, find details, historical information, and a list of the past 25 years of questions and winners on the event website: .

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