Fail and Repeat

That’s the secret to success.

Be happy to fail.

Accept that you’ll fail.

Prepare to fail.

Get up when you fail.

Fail better.

And look for more ways to fail when you succeed.

Take the biggest, most ridiculous thing that you can think of doing and go fuck that up real good for as long as possible.

Try something so impossible that even when you succeed, you’ll still have only started, so that you can keep on failing.

Fail for the sake of it, and fail at what you love.

There’s nothing worse than failing at something we don’t care about.

And there’s nothing better than failing at something we do — especially because it doesn’t feel like it. 

 

Make it Easy

The easiest way to make progress is to make progress as easy as possible.

Mastering a skill is about being so terrible at it we have to practice the easiest part a hundred times just to get started.

Think how long it took to learn to walk. It takes at least three years before we can do it without looking stupid.

The ‘secret to success’ is being able to put up with the boredom of being crap — and falling on our arse several hundred times. 

Break down the hard parts into their easiest possible component and then do that until it’s so easy you’re bored to death.

Forget walking. Focus on figuring out how to stand without holding on to something, and you’ll be running in no time. 

 

Just don’t quit

The secret to success is really quite simple. 

Whenever we ask about success, the answer we get rarely satisfies because it’s so simple. 

How can getting whatever you want in life come down to something so simple?

But when we listen closely, all the athletes, gurus, prophets, and poets start to say the same thing: just don’t quit.

Pick something you think is worth chasing, and never, ever stop.

It doesn’t matter what it is.

It doesn’t matter if you never get there.

The thrill is in the chase, and the chase is till then end.

Or at least until bedtime.

 

Bigger than you

Most goals fail for the same reason.

It’s easier to give up on yourself than it is on other people.

That’s why we have accountability buddies and life partners and coaches and personal trainers.

The other way to succeed is to make your goals bigger than you. That could mean doing it for the environment, or the animals or the unjustly imprisoned, the maltreated, or the lost and forgotten.

And it could mean doing it for the people that you love: your family and your community.

Whatever it is, it’s a damn sight harder to give up on something when other people are relying on you to turn up.

That’s why you reading this is so important. Thank you!

Make a goal that’s bigger than you, and it will bring you everything you ever wanted.

 

Just fail better

Not every day has to be a win.

Most days are going to feel like a tie — at best. Especially when we’re working on something big or important.

Samuel Beckett said, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

Failing a bit better than the day before is usually the best we can hope for. And all it takes to fail better is showing up, again.

And that’s plenty. 

 

Input what you want

If there’s one formula that could be called the “secret to life,” it’s this: input shapes your output.

Our environment defines us almost entirely.

The people we live with change us.

The things we read and listen to shape our thoughts.

What we taste and smell and see affects how we feel.

And our actions build our identity.

Getting what you want from life is as simple as figuring out what it is you want and then shaping your environment — what your body goes through — to create that result.

Like all great games, learning how to play is easy — but getting good takes work.

 

 

 

 

Stay Different

Yesterday, the greatest businessman alive wrote us a letter containing some sage words of advice.

And they’re not about how to time your pee breaks.

Ol’ Jeffo’s advice for success is simple: stay different.

The Universe is always trying to reclaim us for itself, to return us to equilibrium, to flatten us into our surroundings.

To make us ‘normal.’

Merely staying alive is a struggle because Life isn’t typical in this cold, vast, empty Universe.

Distinctiveness is what makes you and me different but also what brings us together. And our differences are worth fighting for, together. 

I’ll leave you with the words of the man who will take humanity to the stars

Be kind, be original, create more than you consume, and never, never, never let the universe smooth you into its surroundings.

 

 

Ain’t no small thing

Donating a million dollars to charity is easy enough.

If you’ve got that kind of money lying around, the government even offers some very attractive reasons to give it away.

And for the good it may do, that money will disappear at a stomach-churning rate.

The surest way of actually changing the world is bit by bit.

Even tiny actions like waving to a neighbour or holding the door for someone can force a paradigm shift when repeated time and time again.

Any small thing — money, love, kindness, reading, meditation, music — when repeated consistently and often, grows into something significant.

It’s just how it works.

Now, how about that glass of water?

 

 

 

 

Struck out

Some days just don’t have you in them.

We wake up feeling terrible.

We drag ourselves away from the soft, warm sheets and out to the cold, hard day.

We take a swing and miss.

And we miss again.

And we miss again.

And just when it seems like another miss might mean the end of it all…

It’s time to go back to bed.

You can’t hit a home run every time you play.

But that doesn’t make you any less of a big hitter.

 

 

 

Fail at what you love

Jim Carrey is the guy who wrote a $10 million cheque to himself and it became true.

Some people think he’s weird because he’d go to work with Limburger cheese in his pockets and hug everyone.

But that’s what you get when you hire a method actor.

Other people think Jim is strange because he’s not materialistic and he told Oprah how to manifest 10 million dollars.

But if you want to ‘manifest’ things you have to accept that you don’t need or want them to be happy.

Jim also talks about doing what you love.

He says: you can fail at what you love, and that hurts pretty bad.

But when you fail at what you don’t love — when you compromised and things still didn’t pan out — that’s crushing.

You can fail at what you love, or you can fail at what you don’t love.

There really isn’t a choice.

Get up

Our world can descend into chaos pretty quickly if we’re not careful.

When we make a mistake or get something wrong or get betrayed, we trip and fall. We ‘fail.’

But the world has tarnished the word ‘failure’ and made it seem like something to avoid.

Having failed many times before, I can confirm that it’s impossible to avoid failure.

And the most successful people on the planet — whether they’re artists or entrepreneurs or athletes or scientists — know they’re going to fail.

They will even seek it out.

The secret to their success isn’t the ability to avoid failure. Success is your ability to bounce back, get on your feet, and start over knowing you’re going to fall again.

Even if you ‘fail’ by the afternoon EVERY day and get back on the next morning, you’d still be doing — still be ‘winning’ — half the time.

That’s all success is, really.

‘Winners’ are just people who started and failed and got back up again more times than anyone else.

So, up you get.

 

 

 

Give yourself a ‘D’

Elizabeth Gilbert — author of “Eat, Pray, Love” has a great story about creativity.

She talks about how dozens of people asked if she was worried she would never write something as big as EPL again.

And then she starts thinking, What if they’re right?

Those doubts lead to her throwing the next book straight in the bin, never to be read.

To publish another book, Elizabeth tells us how she had to come to terms with the fact that whatever she wrote would never be as successful as Eat Pray Love.

Seth Godin calls this, ‘Giving yourself a D’ so you can move on and make something better. It’s not a Fail but it’s definitely not great. 

When I heard this for the 47th time it was like a weight had been lifted.

I was finally free to do some writing. There’s no way I can publish every day without most of it being below average. And none of it will be perfect.

The thinking is that if I write enough, somewhere along the way there might just be something that blows your fuckin’ mind.

But I’m not making any promises; except to show up every day and write.

How to be right a lot

People who are right a lot all do the same thing.

First, people who are right a lot listen a lot. They often read but they all know how to really listen. 

They also change their mind a lot.

Most people spend a lot of time trying to back-up their beliefs.

But people who are right a lot change their minds a lot because they’re always looking to prove themselves wrong. 

In other words: people who are right a lot work very hard not to be.

Simple, eh?

Talent is overrated

Talents are pretty much useless.

As Calvin Coolidge said, “Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.”

There’s an ancient story about talents that goes like this:

Once upon a mountain, an old lord went travelling, leaving his favourite servants with some silver coins (called Talents).

When he returns, the servants have all done something different with their Talents:

  1. The first servant — who got five Talents — blew it all on drugs and women and fast donkeys.
  2. The second servant — who got two Talents — was terrified he’d lose them, and so he buried them deep in the ground, where nobody could find them.
  3. The last servant — who only got one Talent — put it to work every day, investing in other businesses and earning interest on loans. By the time his master returns, he has ten Talents.

If we don’t show anyone our talents, they’re just going to stay buried and useless.  

There are thousands of talented ‘geniuses’ who put in minimal effort and end up with nothing. And there are thousands of idiots who’ve made millions because they knew they weren’t talented and decided to outwork everyone instead.

We don’t need talents to be successful. We just need to show up and do the work every damn day.

That’s how you become ‘talented’ at anything.

Not doing what you love is insane

Way back when Apple was still making great stuff, Steve Jobs would occasionally drop a bomb line that made a hell of a lot of sense.

He was that kind of guy.

One time, he explained that you have to love what you’re doing because it’s insanely hard to be successful if you don’t.

He said, “Doing something you don’t love is so hard that any rational person would give up.”

And that’s usually what happens.

If you’re doing something that you hate, you’d be insane to want to keep on doing it every day, to go through the worry, the stress, the failure, and not get some pleasure out of it.

The problem is that most of the time, the things we’re doing are just ‘ok.’ So we bear them.

Every business I’ve started that was based around the outcome — the money — has failed because I didn’t love what I had to do to get it.

It could have been interesting to learn. Or beneficial to people.

But I didn’t enjoy doing it, and that made getting out of bed to do it that much harder.

These days, I do pretty much what I want; mostly, write. I don’t always enjoy it, but I do love the struggle.

And every morning I get up because I’m looking forward to writing.

I don’t even mind doing the other things related to writing that aren’t writing, because I know that by doing them, I get to write more.

And if just one person finds my writing interesting or useful, I’m happy.

That’s the bonus!