Who should you listen to about failure?

Ramit Sethi

Yesterday, I talked about 3 unconventional insights about failure.

Today, watch as I teach you how others use “failure” to manipulate people into liking them.

It would be EASY for me to write a post about how I failed at something…then had a flash of inspiration…and now look at me! And you can do it, too!

Here, watch:


“When I was in my 20s, I made so many bad financial decisions, I eventually found myself getting screamed at by a bill collector in front of my neighbors. It was so embarrassing! I had to go bankruptcy court and plead with the judge. At that moment, I realized I’d hit rock bottom. There was nothing else to do but change my life — so that’s what I did. Step by step, I got my way out of debt, until here I am in front of my own private plane.”

ramitplaneLook at how great my life is, said 5mm annoying writers everywhere. Just kill me.

Such a classic American story. Notice how riveting the story is — how you almost can’t pry your eyes away. Why is that? What does a good old classic failure story do to us?

I’ve failed at a TON of things. And a lot of us have gone through failures.

But I think there are deeper lessons to be learned than the typical “I-fell-down-then-picked-myself-up-rah-rah-rah” story.

Today, I want to talk about REAL failure. Not just a gimmicky story, but how to think about and USE failure in a strategic way.

In short:

  • BAD: Avoid failure at all costs, never doing anything new or challenging. Or, like 500 life coaches this week, write posts about how you’ve accepted your past failures…BUT NEVER ACTUALLY DO ANYTHING DIFFERENTLY!
  • GOOD: Accept failure, plan for it, and strategically use failure to never make the same mistake twice.
  • BEST: Choose carefully whom you listen to about failure. In plain English, do not listen to failures who give you life advice. Take advice from people who have accomplished what you want to accomplish.

Let me be very clear: Anyone can offer you advice. But it’s up to you to decide whose advice you take. Put another way, it’s great to relate to people who have failed. But do you also seek out masters of their craft and study them?

Do you examine your own failures and try to eliminate them?

For example, what’s something you’re doing NOW that you would have been afraid to do 2 years ago? (Mine: Skydiving, powerlifting.) If the answer is “nothing,” are you growing?

Another example: If given the chance to wear an “anti-fear” cape, how many of us would put it on and try the things we’ve always wanted to try? And yet, because no such thing exists, we tell ourselves stories to rationalize: “I don’t have time to [learn a new language, backpack across Europe, change my diet, talk to that cute girl/guy at Starbucks].” So we don’t.

Year after year after year until we wonder where our life went.

Go ask your parents today — “If you could tell your 20- or 30-something self something, what would you tell them?”

They will tell you how they wish they would have tried MORE things instead of being afraid of what other people thought.

I think there’s a better way. We can learn from people who have failed, but dusted themselves off and learned from their failures…and they went on to succeed.

The guy to talk to about failure is A.J. Jacobs.

ajjacobssmallYou are going to love this. Read on.

When I met A.J., who told me he fails more than 50% of the time, I knew we’d be friends.

A.J. is Editor-at-large at Esquire and best-selling author of Drop Dead Healthy, My Life as an Experiment, The Know-It-All, and The Year of Living Biblically.

That’s why I Invited him to my studio for an exclusive 1-on-1 talk about EXACTLY how he approaches failure, including how he manages to try all kinds of insane life experiments, how he gets his family and friends on board, and the doors that his approach has opened up.

In our session:

  1. We chat about the power of “failing forward,” and how failure leads to success
  2. A.J. and I both love experimentation, so we dive deep into experiments that we’ve used to build our confidence, remove creative blocks, and more

Want to know what every single top performer I’ve interviewed in Brain Trust (including CEOs, athletes, and best-selling authors) ALL have in common? Simple. It’s habits. Successful people don’t just catch a lucky break and coast — they systematically identify and integrate winning habits into their lives, day in and day out, for years.

Ramit’s Brain Trust is now closed indefinitely. But before we closed the program, we extracted all the juiciest success habits from our guests and packaged them into a 7-part Ultimate Guide to Habits that you can read anytime, anywhere — absolutely free.

Ultimate Guide to Habits
Includes HD videos, action plans, and lessons from the world’s leading experts on behavioral change.

Imagine 30 days from today, jumping out of bed early with tons of energy. You actually LOOK FORWARD to the day — no more feeling frazzled — because of the new “peak performance” tools you’re using now.

Maybe you want to start eating healthier, or cook a meal once a week. Maybe you want to start a business, or even just read one book a month.

No problem. Start small. Pick 1 or 2 things to use these powerful techniques on, and watch what happens.

Just sign up below and I’ll send you a free copy of the Ultimate Guide to Habits right away.

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