Last week I wrote about realizing ideas. It got me thinking about success and failure. I’ve learned that when it comes ideas, there are two sorts of people. The ones that fail and turn their back on an idea, and the ones that learn from failure, rebuild and improve the idea, act on it and then succeed. So that’s what I’ll be writing about today.
As I’ve told you, I do get scared sometimes. It’s funny because I’ve realized that it’s not failure that I’m afraid of. It’s success I fear. I bet you’re wondering how that’s even possible, but let me put it this way. Failure is something we are all familiar with. We have all failed a million times. In school, being honest, personal life, you name it, we’ve failed it. We all know the feeling of failure and we’re comfortable with it. I didn’t say we like the feeling, but we sure are comfortable with it. Funny, isn’t it? The problem is, that people are creatures of habit whether we like it or not and we are not fond of change. We like our little routines, like the feelings that we feel and we kind of cling on them. That’s why the hardest part of life is letting something (or someone) go. It’s hard to let go, because if we do that, it means that something in our life will change. But change is good. For everyone.
Success is something that we all want and dream about, but fear it. We have no idea how it feels, how we’re supposed to act, what kind of responsibility comes with it, or what to do with it. Most of the times it’s out of our comfort zones (which we all have) and that’s why we fear it. And because our brain works in mysterious ways, it tricks us. It kind of finds excuses for failing. Just think about it. How many times were you in a place, where only one or maybe two steps had to be done but somehow you didn’t do them? And you said to yourself I’ll do it later, or maybe you said I can’t do this… Well that’s your brain finding excuses for not succeeding and getting out of your comfort zone.
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better. (Samuel Beckett)
I believe that everything that we do in life is some sort of a lesson we learn. We have to keep moving and improving ourself in order to grow. Failure is a big part of that process, because it teaches us what not to do and what mistakes not to make again. I believe that failure is actually a good thing. I know it’s not a pleasant feeling and that it hurts but look at it this way.Let’s say you’re working on a project, and idea you believe will succeed. You have enough money to realize it, you have enough man power to help you and you’re really devoted to completing it. You work your ass of every single day for weeks, maybe even months and the idea doesn’t get anywhere. Nobody finds it interesting, you aren’t getting any followers, you start doubting yourself and finally abandon the idea. What happened?
First of all retrace your steps. Did you organize yourself well enough? Did you get all the answers you needed before starting all the hard work? Is the product that you were building even something that people would be willing to buy? Did you make enough research? No? Well, here’s the lesson, before starting to realize something, make sure that you’re making a product that people will like and use (I know people buy all sorts of stuff, but hey, why not make something that people will actually use and need?).
Second, be honest to yourself. Did you really give your all? Were you motivating your people enough? Did you wake up with the thought of success and fell asleep with it? No? The thing I’ve learned is, that people can sniff doubt like police dogs can find drugs. If you doubt your idea for even a second, people will notice it and start to doubt it to. And when there’s doubt, it’s hard to get back on track and completely believing it again. If you want something to succeed, you have to believe in it on million percent. All the time. Especially when things get rough. Why? Because when you completely believe it, everyone else will follow you. You and your idea are much stronger when you have help of devoted people. Do not let obstacles crush that belief. Obstacles are there just to test your will and resourcefulness. By believing you can do something, you can and you will change the world.
Third, do not, and I repeat, DO NOT let one failure control your next steps. Even if you feel like you’re inadequate, stupid or miserable right now, it’s ok. I’ve failed a million times, and I will fail a million times more, but does that stop me? No. I do wallow for a day or two (I have the right to, you know), but then I get myself together and move one. Just because my idea failed it doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea. I still believe it’s brilliant, I just didn’t think it through or the plan I used wasn’t good enough. I do not let failure consume me completely. I usually just find another way to realize the idea and get going right away. I do learn from my mistakes and try to not remake them.
The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who usually do. (Steve Jobs)
As I’ve mentioned, there are two sorts of people in the world (at least I believe so). The ones that fail and “chicken out” are the ones that will probably never succeed. The problem is, that most of the times, we set unrealistic goals and when failing, we make a conclusion, that this is it and we give up. Setting unrealistic goals is a recipe for failure. You have to know what you can do in a certain amount of time and be honest to yourself. Set goals for the near future, like this week I’ll set up a survey to get answers if my product is interesting. Don’t try to make something that people do not want or need. The next goal could be organizing your finances – do I have enough money to get to the finish line, or do I need to find investors? Another one could be to make a timeline. What are you going to be doing on a certain day? Divide everything you do into little tasks. The thing you’ll notice it that by completing them, you’ll feel good about yourself and have even more energy to get some more done.
There’s a book by Simon Sinek called Getting things done, which I highly recommend to everyone. There’s an explanation to why people succeed – here’s a quick glimpse at what you should be doing:
1. When planning something, the first thing you have to do is ask yourself this: WHY? Why are you doing what you are doing? Why is this your goals? Why do you want to realize this idea? When you get the answer to it, write it down on a piece of paper and put it up on a wall, make it your screen saver, make it your mantra. The answer to WHY should always be your guide. When you’re in doubt or scared, just look at your why and find strength in it. When you know why you’re doing something, then you have a purpose (whether it’s saving the world, feeding the poor or just getting out of bed in the morning) and you follow it. The answer to why will not only be your “thing” to keep you going, it will also be the reason, that people will buy your product, follow your blog or find you interesting. People buy stories and the WHY story is what will make you more interesting than anyone else.
2. When you have your why, you have to answer the next question. HOW? How are you going to do this? What steps are necessary to get things done? Write all of them down and follow them from start to finish. If you truly believe in your idea, you will find a way, believe me. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse for not making it happen. Been there, done that. Too many times.
3. The last thing you need to answer is WHAT? This one’s the easiest. What are you doing? Are you writing a novel? Selling cars? Developing an application for tracking your finances? It doesn’t really matter. What will always be the result of your why. I said it’s the easiest part of the golden circle, because it’s the things you do after you have completed and answered the why and the how.
Here’s an example that Simon Sinek uses for Apple:
You can really use that circle for every single thing in your life that you do. It helps you achieve more, grow and stop you from failing. At least that’s what it does for me. I’ve learned that if I don’t have the “why”, I usually fail at everything I do. If I don’t have a purpose to do something, then why do it at all? Everything we do should have a purpose – it’s harder for us to find excuses for not doing it and easier to get what we want and get it done.
Stop making excuses, find your purpose and make the idea happen.
’till next time, take care.