How to guarantee failure.
Much smarter people than me can tell you how to be successful.
I’ll take a different angle. I will take over the help people fail market. No competition there.
I use myself as a guinea pig. A guinea pig that walks around confused most of the time.
I force myself into different experiments. Taking notes on the results pretending it isn’t me that’s suffering.
Over the last few months, I’ve been building a startup. It’s been unsuccessful so far. I’m running a bunch of experiments at the moment and hoping they will lead to good things.
Example experiments are:
- Posting natively on LinkedIn
- Posting a vlog with all my failures and poor editing.
- Being open about the building process and mistakes I’m making.
These experiments could be awful ideas.
The problem is that it’s hard to recognise if something is stupid until time has passed. So I don’t predict or plan a success. I run experiments and try to learn by showing up each day.
Whether the experiments will be good or bad only time will tell.
I haven’t been able to guarantee that an experiment will be successful.
But I’ve found a way I can guarantee an experiment will be a failure.
How to guarantee failure
I can guarantee failure by telling someone else I will do something before I do it.
This is confusing because traditional self help would call this being accountable to others.
But when I say I will do something, it makes me feel like I’ve already done it.
I trick my brain into thinking I’ve gotten over the difficult step of starting and then I never start.
How I failed at skipping
I said this before I had even ordered a skipping rope of Amazon.
Telling others should have made skipping a sure bet? I wouldn’t want to say something and not do it.
After telling people about it, I forgot about it.
Instead of skipping, I started to give myself excuses. I persuaded myself that it was fair not to skip after surgery and postponed it even longer.
False sense of achievement
I felt like I had achieved something because I had told people about it. I no longer had any guilt for putting it off.
The next thing you know it had been two weeks.
The familiar – What have I done kicked in.
I realised I had betrayed myself. My sneaky brain was up to no good again.
How to fix this
To fix this problem, I didn’t tell anyone that I would skip. I just did it. And I’ve done it every day since.
The only things that’s different between this attempt and the last is that no one knew about it.
It’s only day four. I do it for 15 minutes a day.
But I spend most of the time trying not to throw up. Skipping kills. I’m also not the best skipper so it’s a lot of starting and stopping.
How to fail like me
Most my failure comes from me saying I’d do something before I do it. We can hide behind the excuse of saying it helps us be accountable. It makes us feel good talking about things we want to do. Who doesn’t want a nice dopamine hit for having good intentions?
We all know someone who starts talking about doing a diet. They tell us that come Monday morning its game time.
Monday morning arrives and there is no diet only donuts.
With my writing. The posts I struggle with the most are the ones where I talk about things I will do. It’s unauthentic. It’s dirty. And it’s wrong.
These posts need to be analysing things I have done. Not predicting things I will do.
I didn’t have any customers and I only have two now. How the hell did I think I was qualified to write that?
I think it’s a mixture of impatience, ego, and wanting to provide value.
When you’re writing every day, if you’re not monitoring yourself, it’s easy to fall into talking about things you will do.
Even worse, because I wrote that I felt like I had provided a VIP customer experience, which tricked my brain into losing focus on providing a good service to my customers. My brain felt like I had figured it out because I had written about it.
When I got customers, I couldn’t provide the experience I had planned.
The problem is, saying you will do things is a slow infection. It seems harmless to say something before you’ve done it, but it takes away the guilt that comes from inaction.
It doesn’t give us the drive to start because we already feel like we’ve started.
We need to stop talking about things we will do and instead talk about how they went.