10.16.2013_Scott Adams’ Secret of Success: Failure

(Source: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304626104579121813075903866)

Scott Adams’ Secret of Success: Failure

WSJ, 10.12.2013.

By SCOTT ADAMS

“Beware of advice about successful people and their methods. For starters, no two situations are alike. (…) But the most dangerous case of all is when successful people directly give advice.”

1. Forget about passion

“That guy is a bad bet, passion and all. He’s in business for the wrong reason. (…) the best loan customer is someone who has no passion whatsoever, just a desire to work hard at something that looks good on a spreadsheet. (…) You want the grinder, not the guy who loves his job.”

“For most people, it’s easy to be passionate about things that are working out, and that distorts our impression of the importance of passion (…) Success caused passion more than passion caused success.”

 

2. Be systems-driven people rather than goal-driven

“He said that every time he got a new job, he immediately started looking for a better one. For him, job seeking was not something one did when necessary. It was a continuing process.”

“This makes perfect sense if you do the math. Chances are that the best job for you won’t become available at precisely the time you declare yourself ready. Your best bet, he explained, was to always be looking for a better deal. The better deal has its own schedule. I believe the way he explained it is that your job is not your job; your job is to find a better job.”

“To put it bluntly, goals are for losers. (…) you will spend every moment until you reach the goal—if you reach it at all—feeling as if you were short of your goal. In other words, goal-oriented people exist in a state of nearly continuous failure that they hope will be temporary.”

“If you achieve your goal, you celebrate and feel terrific, but only until you realize that you just lost the thing that gave you purpose and direction. Your options are to feel empty and useless, perhaps enjoying the spoils of your success until they bore you, or to set new goals and re-enter the cycle of permanent presuccess failure.”

“Observers call him lucky. What I see is a man who accurately identified his skill set and chose a system that vastly increased his odds of getting “lucky.” In fact, his system is so solid that it could withstand quite a bit of bad luck without buckling. How much passion does this fellow have for his chosen field? Answer: zero. What he has is a spectacular system, and that beats passion every time.”

3. Failure is a resource that can be managed

If you drill down on any success story, you always discover that luck was a huge part of it. You can’t control luck, but you can move from a game with bad odds to one with better odds. You can make it easier for luck to find you. The most useful thing you can do is stay in the game. If your current get-rich project fails, take what you learned and try something else. Keep repeating until something lucky happens. The universe has plenty of luck to go around; you just need to keep your hand raised until it’s your turn. It helps to see failure as a road and not a wall.” 

“I’ve long seen failure as a tool, not an outcome. I believe that viewing the world in that way can be useful for you too.”

“I do want my failures to make me stronger, of course, but I also want to become smarter, more talented, better networked, healthier and more energized.”

These failures are just a sampling. I’m delighted to admit that I’ve failed at more challenges than anyone I know.

As for you, I’d like to think that reading this will set you on the path of your own magnificent screw-ups and cavernous disappointments. You’re welcome! And if I forgot to mention it earlier, that’s exactly where you want to be: steeped to your eyebrows in failure.

It’s a good place to be because failure is where success likes to hide in plain sight. Everything you want out of life is in that huge, bubbling vat of failure. The trick is to get the good stuff out.”

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