Forget Success – Try to Fail Instead

Say what? This is a great piece of advice I heard originally from Steve Pavlina the Personal Development expert. He was asked how being an authority on personal development impacts his own personal growth? If he ever feels intimidated, as if he can’t fail and always has to be successful to be a good role model.

His reply was simple: “think of authority as authenticity“. This hit deep home for me. One of the biggest challenges about writing personal development articles is feeling like a hypocrite.  How can I give weight loss advice when it’s something I myself I’m working on still?  How can I write about biphasic sleep when I couldn’t finish my own experiment with it?

What we often do is hold our deepest darkest secrets and failures inside of us.  This creates an overwhelming feeling of guilt and shame.  And it holds us back from being authentic.  Think of authenticity as a glass wall, you can see through it. An authentic person is very transperant.

Everyone can easily relate to an authentic person.  An authentic person isn’t usually the picture perfect success model.  Rather he’s the biggest failure ever.  He’s open about his short-comings, and past failures.  People as a result feel like they can relate to him, rather than putting him on a pedastal.

Failure is what breaks our egos.  Failure is what helps us get beyond our pride, our sense of superiority, our perfectionism.  Failure is what helps us learn and grow.

Immediate success usually leads to lots of trouble.  Look at the hollywood stars or pop music artists that make it, and go crazy with all the new money, power and fame.  Often they abuse drugs or alcohol.  I personqally can’t blame them, if you can buy your way out of anything, how much trouble would you get yourself into?

Does that mean that success is bad?  Certainly not.  But success has to be earned.  Otherwise it doesn’t last and more importantly can’t be fulfilling.  Hear the statistic that most lottery winners are usually in more debt a few years after winning than they were before?

Try to fail as quickly and as cheaply as possible to grow the quickest.  An easy way to fail is to get out of your comfort zone.  Outside of your comfort zone is where all the growth happens.  Just think of the last tough skill you learned.  Remember those first few days of constantly trying and failing?

Some quick ways to get out of your comfort zone:

  • Try to learn a new skill or take on a new hobby, the more intimidating the better.  Try a dancing class, an improv comedy class, or skydiving.  All great activities I tried and highly recommend ;)
  • Make new friends.  Start talking to new random people on the street, at social events, in the elevator.  Meet some new neighbors.  Talk with people you usually avoid.  This will help you get a broader perspective on life.  It will also help you relate to different kinds of people with different backgrounds.
  • Travel.  Travel internationally if possible.  Otherwise travel to big cities and small town in your country.  Any kind of travel is a learning experience.  Me and friend promised each other to travel once every 3 months and it’s been amazing.  We went to Las Vegas in March where he somehow made $400 playing roulette.  Then we went to Los Angeles for a seminar where I got to meet some of the biggest internet entrepreneurs ;) I gotta admit it was a very humbling experience.