Here’s a little test: Over the last few years, I’ve become relentless about studying, reading about, interacting with, and learning from people that I would consider to be highly successful. When I get the chance, I’ll ask them, “What’s the key to achieving a lifestyle like that?” Without fail, they all have some version of the exact same answer.
For what I now hope is just the first half of my life, I worked really, really hard at doing all of the things that I was absolutely certain I was supposed to be doing. I didn’t like the results, so I got to a point where I started looking for, finding, and then studying people that I viewed to be successful. I quickly found they exist. They’re out there, and if they can do it, surely I can too.
Now, when I say successful, I’m not just talking about the amount of money that you have. I don’t care how much money you have access to if you don’t have great relationships and enjoy good health. It doesn’t matter to me how secure you think you are in your job if you hate what you’re doing every morning.
No, I mean successful: a great life where you’re doing something that you love to do. You make a good living at it. You have vibrant, loving relationships, and you enjoy good health for as long as you possibly can.
I’ve been lucky enough to find and interact with a lot of people like that, and I ask them what’s the key to achieving and sustaining a life like that? You know what they all say? Failure. Failing. Being willing to fail.
That seems ironic because, for a couple of decades to start my life, I went through a lot of exercises where I was afraid to fail. I’d get a big red “X” on my page or, sometimes, even an “F” with a big red circle around it. I thought failure was punishment. Turns out that running away from failure is what delivers a lifetime of punishment.
I found out that there’s a massive difference between playing to win and playing not to lose, and the difference between the two is being willing to fail, to learn, to grow. When it comes to living the life that we dream of, the life that we deserve, the only permanent failure is being completely unwilling to try.
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