June 1

Succeed Fast and Succeed Often

Perhaps the most famous quote of Seth Godin , the Godfather of modern marketing, is: 

Fail Fast and Fail Often

 

He maintains that as long as you keep failing quickly and cheaply, eventually you will find the route to success.

His main point is embodied in the old saying ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try try again…’.

Although I agree with the spirit of Seth’s quote, I can't quite find it within myself to agree with the quote itself.

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​What Does Failure Tell You?

Here’s an example of why:

You are trying to solve a problem. There are 1000 possible ways to approach it, but only 1 will lead to success.

​Your 1st attempt ends in failure. What have you learnt?

  • Route 1 does not lead to success.

​Your 2nd attempt ends in failure. What have you learnt?

  • Route 2 does not lead to success.

​Your 900th attempt ends in failure. What have you learnt?

  • Route 900 does not lead to success.

Which of these failed attempts tells you which route will lead to success?

None of them.

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​Failure Doesn't Tell You How to Solve the Problem

Thomas Edison failed more than 1,000 times when trying to create the light bulb. When asked about it, Edison allegedly said: 

Thomas Edison

​Thomas Edison

" ​I have not failed 1,000 times. I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways to not make a light bulb "

I think we can all agree that for each of the failed attempts valuable lessons will have been learnt, and we will know how not to approach this type of problem in the future.

 

But failure does not tell you how to solve the problem.

​Succeed Fast and Succeed Often

The issue I have with Seth’s quote is that it is just so damn negative.

Ultimately, the strength in his quote is that to succeed one needs to persist. Just keep on doing, keep on trying.

For me, keep on failing just does not compute.

So why not be glass-half-full and say: 

Succeed Fast and Succeed Often

 

Surely a big success is comprised of a large number of small successes.

Take a large task and break it into smaller, more manageable tasks. Success with each of the small tasks ensures that the large task will be a success.

Failure does not need to be considered.

​The Only Failure is Walking Away

You can learn from successes and you can learn from failures, but in my book, the only failure is giving up and walking away.

When I was a young student I received a set of exam results. They were really important and would define the rest of my life, and I hadn’t received the grades that I expected or needed for my chosen path.

I took a long hard look at myself and asked ‘Who am I, and who do I want to become?’.

My options were to:

  1. 1
    ​Walk away and do something else. Yeah, when hell freezes over…
  2. 2
    ​Resit the exams. High risk, low chance of success.
  3. 3
    ​Repeat the final year. Better, but still risky.
  4. 4
    ​Repeat the entire course – the last 2 years of my life. This is what I did.

​Failure was not an option. It never entered my mind. 

The only thought I had was what I needed to do to succeed.

 

Two years later I gained great grades, went to Uni, got a bunch of Degrees, Masters and PhDs and rebuilt my career. And in all that time I never considered failure.

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​Success Breeds Confidence

I have built my life on the premise of dividing every problem into small manageable chunks and succeeding with each and every one of them.

 

I believe that success breeds confidence and confidence breeds success.

 

Next time you look in the mirror, try saying:

  • ​Yesterday I failed
  • ​Today I failed
  • ​Tomorrow I will fail

​Does that make you feel good? No, thought not.

Now try:

  • ​Yesterday I ​succeeded
  • ​Today I ​succeeded
  • ​Tomorrow I will ​succeed

​Which one makes you feel better?

Which one gives you a boost?

Which one would you rather hear every day for the rest of your life?

More importantly, which one makes you want to keep going and try again?

So feel good about yourself and your achievements. Celebrate every success, however small.

​Environmental Mastery - learn more about how to cope with the isolation of working from home #workfromhome #mentalhealth #wellness

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Environmental Mastery

​You see, when you're isolated working from home, ​one of the most important aspects of mental health is what's known as Environmental Mastery.

You might not have heard of the term, but basically it's all about your ability to cope, adjust and adapt to whatever situation you're faced with.

If you're constantly failing with the tasks you're set, you will generally get the feeling that events are in control of you, not the other way around, and that will increase your stress levels.

On the other hand, getting a sequence of successes gives you the sense that you have the ability to rise to the challenge - you can conquer the world!

That is priceless for your psychological well-being, and will help you cope with the isolation of being away from your colleagues in the office.

​Coping With Isolation

​Environmental Mastery is one of the topics that I discuss in my video course How To Work From Home (and stay productive, healthy and sane), and you can get started FREE right here:

How to Work From Home...

​and ​stay productive, healthy and sane

Learn how to balance work-life, home-school the kids and keep your boss happy too!

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​Recommended Reading

Below are a few books that I highly recommend reading.

Check them out, and if there are any similar books that you recommend, let me know in the comments below and I'll add them.

Who knows? Maybe in time we'll have a whole library here!

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