Posts tagged ‘success’

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. ūüôā

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December 14, 2014

Take the first step

Thought for the day, courtesy of author Paulo Coelho:

In spite of the knowledge that there were many ways in which I could fail, I had taken the first step.

Take the first step. It is amazing how far it will get you.

May 17, 2014

Unshackle the chains that bind you

Something to consider:

So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains
And we never even know we have the key.
(Lyrics from the song “Already Gone” by the Eagles)¬†

We do tend to create constraints, barriers, walls and cages for ourselves in life. Most of these fortifications are unnecessary; they serve no purpose except to prevent us from venturing in directions where we might get hurt.

Perhaps we create these chains because we are afraid of the unknown places — of open territory where we are completely uncovered and vulnerable — so we close the door and lock it tight before we even take a glimpse over the threshold. Maybe we reel ourselves in because we¬†doubt our ability to succeed or thrive — or we erroneously believe that we don’t have the¬†right to succeed or thrive. Or maybe we simply refuse to see the world beyond the narrow borders of our own experience, to recognize that we always have choices, that we are never “stuck” anywhere, that we always have the ability to change our situations, to break free, to grow.

All we have to do to escape our chains is pick up the key that lies inside each one of us — a beautiful, shining key forged from our own courage, strength, confidence and self-worth — and unbolt the door.

This week, why not try unshackling a chain or two in your own life. The tools you need are already there inside you. Set yourself free.

December 1, 2013

December challenge: Aim for the space beyond your safety zone

This month’s challenge is inspired by these words from Michelangelo:

The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.

This December, choose one of the goals you’re currently cultivating — whether big or small — and aim your sights higher and farther than you think possible. Strive for more than you think you can accomplish; ask for more than you think you can get; throw yourself in farther or deeper than you think you can go. You are capable of so much more than you give yourself credit for. Now is the month to show it.

January 12, 2013

If you want to get anything done in this life . . . just do it

Have you ever let naysayers or internal fears stop you from pursuing the dreams or paths that call to you? ¬†Here’s a bit of inspiration to help overcome such obstacles, courtesy of a few books I read recently:

From Plastiki: ¬†Across the Pacific Ocean on Plastic, David de Rothschild’s chronicle of his four-year project to build a boat from recycled plastic bottles and sail it across the ocean from San Francisco to Sydney:

My attitude is that there will always be skeptics and people who want you to fail. ¬†If you worry about failure, you’re not going to get anything done in this life. . . . [But] when you follow an audacious dream into the unknown, the journey itself can be inspiring in ways beyond imagining.

De Rothschild and his six-person crew successfully sailed their boat of 12,500 plastic bottles from San Francisco to Sydney, raising awareness about ocean health and inspiring thousands of people to rethink their relationships to disposable plastics.

And from Dauod Hari’s excellent book The Translator: ¬†A Tribesman’s Memoir of Darfur:

You have to be stronger than your fears if you want to get anything done in this life.

Hari, a translator by chance, risked his life several times over to take foreign journalists into the Darfur region of Sudan, all so that stories about the atrocities of genocide occurring in the area could reach international eyes and ears.

If Hari can overcome fears of persecution and death in order to walk his path, can you overcome your own (perhaps lesser) fears to walk yours?