3 unconventional things I learned about failure
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Is anyone else tired of every blogger, writer, and author writing about how they FAILED at everything?
- “I was in the pit of despair…on the cusp of divorce…almost going bankrupt…and then I saw the light and become a multi-millionaire!!” (ugh)
- “She almost left me…but then I uttered these words…and she looked into my eyes with something I hadn’t seen for 17 years: love.” (vomit)
- Supermodel: “I used to be ugly in school and a total nerd — haha! I love Star Trek! — but one day I looked at myself in the mirror and realized, I was beautiful. But the best part was realizing the beauty came from the inside.” (STFU PLS)
Today, I want to share 3 unconventional ideas about failure.
1. Talking about failure gets attention — but not always the right attention
There’s a reason almost every self-development article online talks about the writer’s failures: It works. I have never gotten as many comments as when I write about my own failures (see here and here).
The GOOD news is writing about your failures is transparent and relatable. This is where most people stop.
The BAD news is writing about your failures can become addictive. You get hundreds of comments of people saying “ZOMG thank u for writing that…I feel so lost…thank u, ur like a guide in the wind”
There’s a certain type of “failure chaser,” who, like a storm chaser oblivious to their own impending demise, continues looking for stories of failure to feed on and sustain them. They don’t want to change — they just want to know that other people have failed, like they have. You do not want to surround yourself with these people.
2. It’s so easy for people to tell you why something WON’T work
I’m working on a brand-new project, something radically different than what I’ve done in the past. Quietly, I’ve been sharing it with a few people. Their response has been universally negative. They told me why it won’t work…all the things that will go wrong…and how other people have done it.
Years ago, this would have been devastating. Now I listen, but in the back of my mind, I say this: Maybe they’re right. But maybe not. But after I listen to their feedback, I’d rather bet on myself and my grit than a few naysayers’ comments.
And a year from now — or 2, or 3 — some of the very same people will never realize they were one of those naysayers. Instead, they’ll say things like, “Wow, he’s so lucky.” Hmm.
How many people do you listen to that tell you you’ll fail…only to become a self-fulfilling prophecy? Are these people in the position you want to be? If not, why do you give them the same respect as other people?
3. Sometimes, other people’s opinions are RIGHT
A lot of delusional people just read that last point and said, “I KNEW IT!! MY IDEA FOR A TIME MACHINE THAT IS POWERED BY KALE AND COPPER IS A GREAT IDEA!” You, my friend, are a dumbass.
When 1 person tells you something, it’s a toss-up if it’s right or wrong. When 20 people tell you something, they’re probably right. When everybody told me I should watch Jiro Dreams of Sushi (which, btw, you can watch on Netflix since I’m giving away Netflix for life here), I said “Yeah yeah” and never did it. Until one day, when I had nothing else to watch, and I realized, holy shit, this documentary is awesome.
When I was in college and we got the chance to pitch our business ideas to a real venture capitalist, he listened to my idea and said, “This idea is crazy.” I was insulted. But he was right! It was a harebrained, futile business idea that would never succeed. Stupid Ramit.
On the other hand, I know people who told me some of my business moves were dumb — the same business moves that have earned millions of dollars and helped tens of thousands of students.
The key is, WHO DO YOU LISTEN TO?
I’m going to talk about that tomorrow.
P.S. It’s my birthday. I only want one thing: Tell me how my site has helped you in the last year.
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