Now we all know there’s no specific formula on how to guarantee success, however, this is as close as you can come to making sure you succeed at just about anything you want.
The other day I was at PF Changs, which has become one of my favorite restaurants.
After a big plate of Mongolian beef, egg drop soup, and lettuce wraps, I cracked open my fortune cookie, and it said “Failure Is The Mother Of Success”.
Now most people would go – “that’s nice” or “that’s cute”, but to me this is 100% true and is THE MAJOR reason why people struggle and give up.
See, when you’re young your tolerance for failure, rejection, setbacks, disappointments, criticism, ridicule, etc… is very, very high.
But as we get older, it dramatically decreases, to a point where most adults can’t stand the thought of making a mistake or failing at something.
Yet failure is the very thing that DRIVES success.
Failure Is A Prerequisite To Success
Look at it this way, everything in this world has it’s opposites.
Without a low, there’d be no high. Without dark, there’d be no light. Without left, there’d be no right. And yes… without failure, there’d be no success.
So failure is a necessity.
The other thing to understand, or better yet, remember, is we all start out as “failures” at anything we do.
I have twin girls, who just turned 6 last weekend.
Where does the time go?
Anyway, if you have kids then you can definitely identify with this, as you watch them go through different stages of the learning process.
From not knowing how to even crawl, to starting to crawl, and take first steps, fall down, get up, do it again, fall down, get up, do it again, many, many times…. and then eventually they start running and you can’t stop them. Kind of the stage my twins are in right now.
Now think about it, when the child takes that first step and falls down, do you go, “oh no, they’re a failure, they’ll never learn to walk”?
I know it sounds ridiculous, yet that’s EXACTLY what adults say to themselves when trying and failing at something for the first time.
I discovered long ago that there are 4 stages of the learning process you’ve got to go through to master ANYTHING. From walking to becoming a professional athlete or anything else.
How To Guarantee Success In 4 Stages
Stage 1: Unconscious Incompetent
This is a point where you don’t know that you don’t know.
Let’s take marketing as an example. Until you know what marketing really is, you have no clue that there’s a better way to sell something.
As in the case with me, when I was selling financial services, doing all the manual grunt work of calling people, without a clue about running ads or creating marketing system that would do all the heavy lifting for me.
In this stage, you’re not even aware of what you’re lacking.
If you’re reading this I know you’re way beyond that.
Because the minute you realize that you’re missing the knowledge or the skill of doing something, you move to the next level…
Stage 2: Conscious Incompetent
You now know that you don’t know.
You understand that it’s possible to do this, you just don’t know how to do it yet.
This is an exciting stage, because it’s where you start seeing opportunities, solutions, and get ideas on how to improve.
In the example of marketing and advertising, you start noticing that others are implementing certain things, techniques, you don’t know them yet, but you know they exist and you start searching for information on how to get better at it. How to learn these skills.
A lot less people are moving to this next stage, where they’re starting to actually implement what they’re learning.
Stage 3: Conscious Competent
You’re now a lot better at it, you understand what you’re doing, but the problem is that it’s all still done on a very conscious level.
Meaning you have to put a lot of effort and energy behind it.
This is where the rubber meets the road. You start experiencing more setbacks, because you’re trying new things, some work and some don’t. And it’s where most people drop the ball.
Because they expect things to go perfectly for them, but nothing ever does. There will ALWAYS be unexpected bumps in the road, and the key is to realize they WILL happen and change your attitude towards them.
In fact, here’s a great quote to live by from one of my mentors, Tom Hopkins.
“I Never See Failure As Failure, But Only As A Learning Experience”
By practicing your skills and getting better at it, you enter the last stage…
Stage 4: Unconscious Competent
You’re now a pro. Doing things automatically, because these skills have become a part of who you are, just like walking and talking and a lot of other things which at one point seemed impossible, and are now second nature.
The only way I know to get to this stage is to plow through the setbacks and the temporary defeats. And understand they are temporary.
When you look at the big picture, and keep your eye on the goal, it’s easier to move forward, then when you get caught up in the day to day drama of things that may not always go your way.
I used to think that there comes a time where everything you touch just turns to gold.
And was I in for a rude awakening. If you think that way, I hate to burst your bubble, there’s no such thing.
In business, it all boils down to trying and testing, and taking calculated risks. If I show you the number of projects I have started, where I got the idea that I’ll promote this and sell this… and then show you how many of them actually became successful, it’s about 20 to 1.
Doesn’t sound very exciting, right?
You know you try 20 different things and 1 works.
But to me this is VERY exciting.
For 2 reasons.
One, as you do more, you get better, a lot better, and you learn what not to do next time. (this is by the way how I learned mostly everything I know, about business, marketing and sales). When you make every mistake in the book, you figure out what doesn’t work, and next time you don’t make that same mistake again.
And just so you know, every major company understands this, and plays the numbers.
Want an example?
Ok, so I was talking with a big-time marketing and copywriting expert who writes sales copy (that’s advertising) for a massive financial publication powerhouse. His division makes tens of Millions a year in sales. And all their sales are generated online.
They have half a dozen highly skilled and very knowledgeable guys like him work on advertising campaigns to drive these sales.
Want to guess their failure ratio?
90%! 9 out of 10 advertising campaigns these top guns produce, don’t work.
BUT… the 1 out 10 that does is a huge home run.
This should be very exciting for you, if you’re willing to risk failing 9 out 10 times.
Now here is the second reason I’m excited about the fact that most attempts end up in failure, and this is a BIGGIE.
Most people will not do this.
They’ll try something, it won’t work, and they’ll stop. Then they might try again, and when that doesn’t work, they’ll stop again.
They’re always starting and stopping, there’s NO COMMITMENT. And when there’s no commitment, there’s no room for success.
Most people haven’t learned that failure is a necessity and a pre-requisite for success.
So if you’re looking to get into a competitive business, don’t worry. Because most of your competition will probably not be as persistent as they could be.
And that could be the key to your success.
Isn’t that great news?
There’s hardly any competition out there if you look at it this way.
The person who’s willing to try the most things and fail, is the one who’ll eventually make it big in business.
So I sincerely hope you try different things and fail more often.
The faster you fail, the faster your succeed.
And THAT is how to guarantee your success.