How to fail in 6 easy steps—or not.

Myers Barnes new home sales failure

We all love success, but it isn’t a constant in life. Failure is inevitable.This simply means you’ve missed the mark. You’ve stumbled. Fallen. Been thrown off course temporarily. So what do you do with a failure? You can be bitter or better. You can also take action to side- step these detours. Here’s my guide for how to fail in 6 easy steps—or not.

STEP 1 on the road to failure: Compare yourself to others. 

You’re one-of-a-kind. Don’t measure who or where you are by someone else’s standards. Be your own “ruler”.

A better idea: Compare the progress you have made. Look at where you are today as compared to where you were a month ago.  

STEP 2 on the road to failure: Be too concerned about what others think of you. 

Why give value to their opinions? They aren’t living your life and faced with your challenges. They haven’t experienced what you have. Your opinion is the one that truly matters.

A better idea: Don’t seek approval. Don’t be discouraged by criticism. Be true to you. 

STEP 3 on the road to failure: Stop believing that you can achieve success. 

A negative mindset is your biggest obstacle.It’s like a toxin that overtakes your mind, which guides your actions.

A better idea: Believe that you can achieve. Tell yourself that if “Plan A” fails, you have 25 more letters in the alphabet that you can attach to new plans. Even wrong choices can bring you to the right places if you don’t give up.

STEP 4 on the road to failure: Follow the pack. 

Do you remember your mom or dad saying, “If Johnny jumped off a cliff, would you??” The reality is just because everyone’s doing it, doesn’t make it right. Conversely, just because you’re the only one doing something doesn’t make you wrong. The number of people who believe in something is irrelevant to whether or not it’s true.  

A better idea: Your gut instinct is your built-in natural compass, so let it guide you. Don’t fall for the ad populum fallacy, meaning if many believe something to be true (or it’s out there on the Internet), then it must be true. This common seduction appeals to our natural desire to belong, conform, and feel secure. It also allows us to escape those feelings of guilt when we don’t agree with the majority. To be a successful leader, you must be willing to be a critical thinker and distance yourself from the masses. 

STEP 5 on the road to failure: Live in the past. 

The past is behind you. When you allow yourself to remain guided by the past, you’re destined to stay there. You can’t confidently move forward if you’re always looking in the rearview mirror. 

A better idea: Live in the present. Learn from the past. Today’s moments become tomorrow’s memories, so give them your full attention. 

STEP 6 on the road to failure: Become too comfortable. 

While comfort is good—particularly in these uncertain times—too much makes you complacent. Your desire to achieve is diminished. You become too satisfied with “what is” and make no effort to achieve “what could be”.

A better idea: Seek challenges. They create the friction that sharpens your skills and fuels your growth.  An environment that is too comfortable becomes crippling.

Every test in my life—and I’ve had my share—has the potential to make me or break me.  The choices and the consequences are mine alone. There will be moments that I will be found lacking. I may occasionally miss the mark, but that just means I’m putting myself out there and trying.  

I think of it this way: Enduring a failure is testimony that, even when the worst happens, I can handle it. I will survive and come out stronger and smarter than I was. 

When you do fail, think of it as your First Attempt In Learning.

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