Failing right

How to fail at almost everything and still win big?

Scott Adams the famous cartoonist for Dilbert, has probably failed at more things than anyone you have ever heard of. Still, he managed to become one of the world’s most famous syndicated comic strips. He talks about crafting a conscious strategy of managing opportunities to attract luck. 

First, you should view failure differently:

  • Failure always bring some value with it
  • Failure as a tool not an outcome – a resource to be managed



You should orbit your thinking around managing and monitoring personal “Energy Metric”:

  • Calm, focused energy (not frenetic caffeine fuel)
  • Helps you for long-term and big-picture
  • Choose to maximize personal energy – makes it easier to manage other priorities 
  • It’s good to simplify instead of optimizing, especially when dealing with others – it frees energy


And that requires you to be System-oriented instead of Goal-oriented:

  • A system with no deadline
  • Something you do regularly that increase your happiness in the long run
  • Makes you feel growing capable every day
  • Enables you to “Sample”/ trying lots of different things to discern your best path to success

Goal-oriented people exist in a continuous failure, that hopes to reach the goal – It is a state of continuous pre-success failure at best.
If they reach the goal, they celebrate and might lose purpose and direction.

It is better to be system-oriented such that the system maintains your personal energy – as you apply your system each time.
for example, it’s better to exercise regularly(System) instead of having a goal to lose 5 kg(Goal).

So what is his formula for success?

Every skill you acquire doubles your odds for success.
His rationale is that: Good+Good > Excellent. No need for excellence at each skill. A mix of mediocre skills can produce a very powerful outcome.
Success is about a combination of: Hard-work + Brains + Risk + Determination + Desire + Luck(timing)

As for the knowledge formula:

Knowledge builds upon knowledge – everything you learn becomes a shortcut for other stuff. The more concepts you learn, the easier it becomes to learn new ones. The more you know, the more you can know.
e.g.: It is easier to understand what a Zebra is if you know what is a horse!

Scott figured that there is usually a price for success. he recommends figuring the price out and paying it – and if you have a system, you can get a good price!


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