I refused god so he took away the love of my life.
No kidding. A few years back I dated a work colleague. We were a perfect match. We spoke about marriage on, like, the third date.
There were fireworks in our eyes everywhere we went. She believed in god. I thought it was like a nice hobby, you know, like fishing.
But she loved the almighty higher power. I grew more and more skeptical as I got exposed to her religion. I respected it, but her version felt toxic. Shame non-believers. Make people feel love is disgusting. Give up most of your paycheck to fund kitchen renovations at the church.
Felt like a cult, sounded like a cult, so it probably was a cult. Who knows.
Eventually the relationship failed. It ended in spectacular form with me whispering the final words:
“I’ll never get over this.”
In that moment it felt as if a comet had hit the earth and life as we know it was about to end forever. Not even Papa Elon could have evacuated us to Mars.
The failure burnt a hole in my brain for a while.
I became numb. I hated humans. I retreated to writing racy self-help on the internet. But the failure subsided. I eventually got back out there. Then I met my wife who is one of the best things that’s ever happened to me.
Failure is amazing when you understand it. Let’s dissect.
The powerful question to ask during difficult times
Questions can lead to a new direction in life. Author Mark Manson slapped me in the face with this one:
During difficult times, ask yourself: “What do I have to do to make this one of the best things that have ever happened to me?”
Jaw to the floor. Holy cow! What an idea. What if you could turn every situation into an opportunity for growth? You can.
It starts with questions then it continues with new thinking.
The James Clear (almost) book disaster
In 2015 writer James Clear signed a book deal for “Atomic Habits.”
The book got published in 2018. From 2015 to 2018 James looked like a knobhead in a clown suit. People laughed at him. His writing clearly was a joke.
“Atomic Habits….LOL…okay Mister Self-Help…pwahahahaha.”
The book was an incomplete mess in 2016. By August 2017 the book remained unfinished. By February 18 there was still no progress.
Something strange happened…
After October 2018 the book started to go from a giant failure to a success. The negative comments started to turn positive. James got friend requests from his idols.
Now, in 2022, Atomic Habits is one of the highest-selling books of all time. James is considered a hero and broke many paradigms. He made self-help sexy and relevant to a whole new generation.
James puts this bizarre situation down to when you measure success. If you measure success too early it looks like failure. He says to ensure you don’t see every goal as a failure.
“You’re likely in the middle of succeeding.”
Failure equals experience points that help you level up
Brian Feroldi says that good investments are the result of good decisions. Sounds fair enough.
Those good decisions are the result of investing experience. And 90% of that experience is the result of making the worst investments in history.
Too many people don’t master the art of failure because they’re too afraid to become unsuccessful.
But if you never execute any idea and just stay home in your pillow-covered bedroom in your safety pants, then you won’t learn the best lessons that can only come from failure.
That’s been my experience with writing online. Sometimes people tell me I have a gift. But they don’t see the 1000s of disasters that came before the occasional hits.
You “need” experience to start, but you gain experience by starting — Dan Koe
Failure is the way to a life you could only dream of. The only failure you want to avoid is dying. Every other failure is better than a Harvard degree.
The secret to Sweden’s magic innovation formula
Countries like Sweden are in love with failure.
They don’t run from it like a scared Eddy — they embrace it. So much so that they have a Museum of Failure. Inside are some truly epic product failures.
Here are a few of the failures:
- Nike Magento sunglasses — No longer did you need the plastic part that goes over your ears. You could now be part of the Matrix movie. Only problem: you had to glue bloody magnets to your ears to keep them on LOL.
- Ikea Air — This couch is one you blow up. The innovation was that you could take it anywhere with no effort and easily lift it up to vacuum under. The problem was the air valves leaked all the time.
- Spray-on rubbers — This is perhaps the dumbest failure in history. First off, a man has to spray on the rubber and wait three minutes (what man can wait three minutes for anything let alone rumpy pumpy). The obvious issue here is that any man who used it was likely to get their partner pregnant. Doh!
Failure is the way in business and in life.
Killer tips for making failure your best friend
Stay the hell away from fancy
Entrepreneur Alex Hormozi says “Simple scales, fancy fails.”
Too often we make fancy decisions in life to try and impress others. Don’t do it. Fancy and complicated = slow-moving train wreck. Complexity repels humans because their TikTok brains are already overloaded with information and stimuli.
Give people a break and do a Steve Jobs: make your goal simple.
Understand this knockout distinction
JK Molina shared this important distinction about failure.
Person A is petrified to lose all their money. Person B believes if they lose everything they can make it back again. On the outside both humans sound rich. But only Person B is truly wealthy.
I applied this same mindset to a major financial loss.
Friends said “aren’t you pissed about losing that much money?”
“Nope. If I can make that much and lose it then I can make it again. I lost money but not my mindset or skills.”
There’s a lesson in there.
Everything looks like a gold mine at first
Jack Raines is a friend and badass money guy. He made me rethink what fresh opportunities really are.
Looking back, going balls deep on an unknown Buy Now, Pay Later company whose biggest partner was Wayfair (a total Coroni-rona beneficiary) was really stupid. But no one thinks what they are doing is stupid while they’re doing it. It’s only after the fact that you think, “Wow, that was pretty stupid”
The insight here is that we all think we’re a genius in the moment, especially when we make fast decisions.
Only after the fact do we get the gift of wisdom earned from our failures.
Bottom line: you’re going to fail. Expect it. And ask yourself, is this decision stupid? What could go wrong?
The biggest red flag is “everyone is doing it.” Everyone might be stupid too.
Do this simple thing when failure enters your life
Johnny Brown says when failure strikes you’ve got to choose your focus. You can focus on hurt you get from the failure, or you can focus on the lessons from failure.
Hurt gets you nowhere. Lessons help you grow. Choose the latter.
The Mark Manson Paradox
Mark suggests the less you care about a goal the more likely you are to get it.
This means confidence comes from getting comfortable with failure, not avoiding it. So the more comfortable you get with failure, the more likely success will happen.
Failure simply creates the unexpected detours that eventually lead to the fast lane we call success.
Get comfortable with failure.
All the best things in my life are tied to failures — mental illness, walking away from a startup, getting fired, leaving the corporate life, and falling in love with an out-of-bounds religious cult lover.
Just ask your friendly divorced friends about failure. They’ll tell you the catastrophic failure of marriage is one of the greatest gifts of their life. Now they get to be free and move on.
If you don’t move past failure you get stuck in its quicksand. Expect failure. Try to fall in love with it.
Failure leads to the greatest opportunities you could never imagine.