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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11 Comments

 
  1. […] (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); 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. Read full article […]

  2. Brother, Im BAFFLED that even at your level, people who actually know you are going to try to shut you down when you dare to take risks and move forward apart. Go forward, go forward, learn tweak hustle and forward. Once you succeed the naysayers will chant your name and say they were rooting for you all along.

    Unless of course your new biz is an online lingerie kitten store, in which case how dare you.

  3. “WHO DO YOU LISTEN TO?” – to the people who’s already where you want to be.

  4. Right on w/ this paragraph!

    “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.”

    Most people I know are very negative, or at least skeptical, by nature. I go through this all the time; like you said, I listen and try to think about what they said in relation to what I know to see if they really have a point.

    I have to admit #3 applies to me sometimes, but I wasn’t really taking those ideas seriously anyways. I can be a crazy idea factory at times, purely for my own amusement.

    • Hello Scott, This is a great blog for everyone, of course its really important to think positive ways, but there’s no perfect people here in the world. Remember this thing no one could help you but only yourself if you trying to trust and do something good for anyone you’ve meet. I’m sure your a good person. Always remember no matter what you do reflects your own personality it is not bad if you experience different failures. Try to accept and forget the reality, God knows everything. You are the only one who creating your own story, if you draw this in a good way the result will be a good life. Thank you for listening and sharing your problem. Keep scanning a lot of blogs like this it will help you a lot. ;-)

  5. A lot depends on the people surrounding you.
    In some cultures failure is a bad thing and people would not want to listen and speak with others about it.
    In others failure talks get a lot of attention because are seen as “transaparency” . Also, people often can relate to it.
    Happy birthday, even if 2 days later :)
    Rob

  6. Don’t let someone else tell you you’re business moves were dumb. Especially if those decisions are making you money. At the end of the day the only opinion that matters is the one you have of yourself!

  7. Misery loves company, isn’t that what they say? Wouldn’t that be why most people enjoy an article about failure? It makes them feel comfortable about their situation, that others have also been there and things have worked out ok for them. It’s motivational junk food, it keeps you going for a short period of time, but it doesn’t lead to any real change in the long run. In fact it just makes you slow and lazy.

  8. According to Arkad in “The richest man in Babylon” you must listen the professional who knows his sh!t in the field you are interested. The venture capitalist you talked about was a professinal whose job was to evaluate busines ideas. Your working class parents on the other hand may be full of a lot of well menaning advice but not a good source of busines advice.

  9. Yes! The easiest thing you can do, is tell someone how many different ways there are to do things WRONG. Its a hell of a lot easier to explain exactly how to do something correctly.

  10. Yep. The best thing you can do with your life is make sure you’re listening to the right people, and tuning out most of the rest.

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