Archive for August, 2017

August 7, 2017

How to succeed: Fail copiously and spectacularly

Looking for the key to success? Apparently the secret is to rack up several previous failures, the more numerous and spectacular the better! I came across the following research summary in the book Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant. The boldface and italic emphases in the text are my own.

A few years ago, two management researchers became curious about what factors predict when a space flight will succeed. Going back to the first launch of Sputnik I in 1957, they tracked every launch globally for nearly five decades across thirty organizations — mostly governments but also some private companies. You might think the best odds of a successful launch would come after past successes, but the data from more than four thousand launches showed the exact opposite. The more times a government or company had failed, the more likely they were to put a rocket into orbit successfully on the next try. Also, their chances of success increased after a rocket exploded compared to a smaller failure. Not only do we learn more from failure than from success, we learn more from bigger failures because we scrutinize them more closely. 

If you apply this same finding to your own life, what is the result? The more times you fail at something, the closer you get to actually achieving it. And those absolutely spectacular failures that threaten to destroy you? They’re actually your best helpers, because they teach you what you need to know for next time (and force you to learn the lessons).

The next time you fail at something, celebrate that moment as another step towards your future success. You’ve got this. 🙂

August 5, 2017

The path to happiness lies behind Doors 1, 2, 3 and more

Have you ever been floored by some tragic or particularly challenging life event, only to spend your time pining for the way things were before? Here’s a new way to look at your situation, courtesy of the ever-wise Helen Keller:

When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.

There is always more than one positive direction each of our lives can take. If a door to one of those directions closes, it’s OK to spend some time mourning that direction, but then turn and look around you. There are so many other versions of a happy, healthy you just waiting to come to life, if only you give them the attention they deserve. ❤