Have you ever failed at anything?
I have, many, many times with all sorts of things. From marriage to business to striving for certain goals.
Have you ever succeeded at anything?
I have, many, many times with all sorts of things. From marriage to business to striving for certain goals. Hmm, sounds like the first answer. That’s because it is. No I’m not spinning failure into success. I’m being literal, I have failed and I have succeeded – at the same things.
Let me explain…
My first marriage ended after a year – on anyone’s terms that’s a pretty miserable fail, right? Yeah, at the time it was painful and I felt like a miserable failure. But, after a short time me and my ex-wife actually became friends again, initially for the sake of our daughter, but eventually because it made sense to put the past behind us, learn from it, move on – but most importantly for me – to keep what was good about it. Me and my ex were friends first, so it made sense for me to retain that part.
25 years later we’re still friends and I like to think that our daughter benefitted from the ‘good’ relationship we made. And she has grown into a beautiful, kind, loving mother herself now. HUGE Success
Now I’m married again and it’s great. So now I like to think I’m a success at marriage (ask my wife for a true opinion). 🙂
So other failures…
I started my own business and for a few years it was great and I earned some good money. But slowly, slowly the competition got cheaper and my revenue diminished to a point where it now just ticks over. I tried getting in new business but selling wasn’t my strong point so now I concentrate on property investing. It’s been 12 years or more since I started the core business so I’m already in the top 4% of business owners just by continuing to trade for 10 years+, so in some ways I’m a success, but considering how it’s fortunes have gone steadily down you could say it’s more like a failure.
But I keep going, keep trying new things, keep striving and do my best to keep positive.
At the time I started my business I also started doing abstract paintings and have since sold in excess of 650 originals, albeit at very affordable prices. Success
A few years ago I tried setting up an online business, I got nowhere. Fail
Then I decided to write a self help book, I gave myself one year to write it. I did just that. Success
I self published it and learned a lot about marketing so I could sell it, I even created a 90 day home study course to go along with it. Success
I didn’t get anywhere with it. Fail
After dabbling a bit in business networking I set up my own network group and met lots of interesting people. Success
It didn’t bring me any new business or income streams. Fail
I overcame technical hurdles (and if you know me you know that’s a big deal) to set up blogs like this one and YouTube videos. Success
I reached 2nd Dan Black belt in my chosen martial art and when the club owner retired earlier this year he handed the running of the club over to me. Success
I taught myself how to play the piano and now write my own instrumental pieces. Success
I have written a 12 part children’s book series. Success
I could go on with a long list of successes and failures but my point is, to me, success is an attitude. We don’t know which failures we’ve had in the past might turn into successes, or what lessons they have taught us that might help us with success in the future. So in order to give myself the best chance of success I have to follow the following equation: R+R+HW +D,P&C. Resourcefulness + Resilience + Hard Work + Determination, Persistence & Consistency.
Make sure this resonates with you before adopting it though as there are many sayings and formulas out there that can misleading. One is attributed to Einstein: “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.” However, if you were a door to door salesman and you quit after the first ‘No thanks’ because of Einstein’s quote you’d never get to door 7 where the first buyer of your product is. Or door 18 where your second buyer is, or door 32 where your biggest buyer is.
The lesson is only learned after sufficient energy has been put into something and you’ve learned all you can from the process and only you’ll know when that is. We also have to learn from the ‘No thanks’ in order to maximise a different result further up the metaphorical street.
Will I continue to have failures? Of course. But hopefully my ratio of successes will get larger.
So to answer the headline of this blog: The only way to properly fail is either not to try in the first place or quit trying because of failure. That’s not me and I hope it’s not you either.
So let me ask you this…
What would you regret most at the end of your life:
A) Failing to reach your dream goal
B) Never having tried to reach your dream goal
BOOK REVIEW of ‘The Tipping Point’ by Malcolm Gladwell
This book addresses the phenomena of epidemics in behaviour. It’s premise is that there are certain types of people that start, broaden and continue certain trends in a particular way that is almost formulaic.
These are Connectors, Mavens and Salespeople – all of which play their part in translating and transmitting the mesage from the Innovators of the world.
Connectors: “These people who link us up with the world, who bridge Omaha and Sharon, who introduce us to our social circles – these people on whom we rely on more heavily than we realize – are Connectors, people with a very special gift of bringing people together.”
Mavens: “A Maven is a person who has information on a lot of different products or prices or places. This person likes to initiate discussions with consumers and respond to requests … they like to be helpers in the marketplace. They distribute coupons. They take you shopping. They go shopping for you … This is the person who connects people to the marketplace and has the inside scoop on the marketplace.”
Salespeople: “Mavens are data banks. They provide the message. Connectors are social glue: they spread it. But there is also a select group of people – Salespeople – with the skills to persuade us when we are unconvinced of what we are hearing, and they are as critical to the tipping of word-of-mouth epidemics as the other two groups.”
Things I learned from this book include…
Stickyness – a product or service must be of such quality and usefulness that it lives up to the hype of the reporting of it by the Mavens and Connectors. It must create involvement (engagement) of the target audience.
The Sesame Street Lesson – Kids tune out when things get confusing, even things designed to be exciting (to adults) proved to be confusing to kids and they switched attention. Lesson: know your audience, understand how they want to consume your content and in what situations are they most open to receiving your message.
Which peronality trait are you aiming at? – Studies have shown that children will lie and cheat depending on the circumstances of a situation. Therefore personality traits are not set in stone. Don’t expect adults to be any different, if you’re trying to create an epidemic around your product or service understand the personality traits of your audience as they’re in the situation they come in to contact with your communication, or, news of it via the Mavens, Connectors and Salespeople.
Fundamental Attribution Error – We are more intelligent about human situations than abstract ones, which is maybe why human based stories capture our attention. Gladwell writes: “(FAE) …is a fancy way of saying that when it comes to interpreting other people’s behaviour, human beings invariably make the mistake of overestimating the importance of fundamental character traits and underestimating the importance of the situation or context.” He concludes that there seems to be a mental sleight of hand that helps us reduce the complexity of decision making.
Unfortunately, this usually means our decisions only appear to be rational.
The Power of 150 – The human neocortex ratio of the brain = 150. This means the maximum number of genuine social relationships we can handle is approx. 150. Gore Co. (makers of Goretex) limit the number of employees working in it’s buildings to around 150 for this reason, they find that people function more efficiently, happily and innovatively in groups no larger than this. Mormons split their communities once they reach 150 into two groups of approx. 75. The military have found that units of soldiers operate optimally at 200 or below.
Lastly, Gladwell hypothesises that understanding tipping points when it comes to things like cigarette addiction could have significant impact. Trying to curb the initial usage of cigarettes by youngsters is pointless. No amount of persuasion over the decades has made much difference because of the rebellious nature of teenagers.
He suggests that curbing the stickyness (or addiction) is needed – IE: reduce the nicotine levels to make addiction less likely.
The concepts in this book require some deep thought and can be applied to all walks of life not just marketing. For instance his story of crime reduction on the New York subways simply by cleaning up graffiti is inspirational.
On a thought provoking basis I give this book 8 out of 10.
To celebrate passing my 50,000th view today for this blog here is an inspirational and thought provoking TED Talk by Priya Parker – 19 mins long but worth it:
Six minutes of thought provoking Alan Watts, if you ever wondered why it’s so hard to figure out what you ‘really’ want – this might illuminate that for you.
Take the opportunity today to consider whether your happiness is created by your conditions or the other way around.
‘Happiness is not created as a result of certain conditions, certain conditions are created as a result of happiness.’ Neale Donald Walsch said that and I agree with him. And this applies to all states of mind.
What he means is if you are a happy person then you will create happy conditions around you. A truly happy person doesn’t need the external conditions to be a certain way in order to be happy. Easier said than done right. Of course it is, at first. What’s the big secret then? Well, for me, it’s just to accept what is. Strive for X but be happy with Y. Not getting attached to the outcome.
When I watch a football match I see the two sets of supporters cheering their team on and in the end one team wins and the other loses, usually. The losing supporters are often devastated. Why? Because they are attached to the outcome. They strive for X (their team winning) but they’re not happy with Y (their team losing). They make themselves unhappy.
Take a look today at areas in your life where you might be doing this. And if you think that by adopting this mental state you’ll lose out on the highs in life (like your team winning) think again. You can continue striving as much as you ever did – but now you won’t be so affected by the lows.
(Page 404 December 29th of my book: How To Change Your Life One Day at a Time)
Happy New Year and enjoy 2017
And here’s a video that might help of Dr Ilona Boniwell the founder of the European Network of Positive Psychology explaining how to be more happy…