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The Surefire Strategy to Fail at Anything

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It's not a guarantee of failure, but it's pretty close.

It’s not a guarantee of failure, but it’s pretty close.

Warning: you might succeed anyway with this strategy below, but it’s not likely.

[/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Note: this article first appeared on Medium.]

Bonus: this strategy works for pretty much anything you’d like to Go Pro with. I chose Guest Posting because it’s currently what I’m failing at.

Whenever I ask my business partner if I can take a course (or do a workshop or hire some guru), he grills me with the question I hate. I physically cringe when I ask it because I know what he’s going to ask in return:

“Oh, that’s a great idea! Sounds like a fantastic workshop. Hey, just one quick question before you sign up. So, how’s it going with your own efforts towards that goal?”

In other words, have you even given it a shot, a try, some eensie beensie bit of effort beyond just thinking about it and dreaming about it and envisioning yourself as the pro in _________________ (pick your dream) and getting there easily because some guru who has actually done the hard work already is going to “show you how to do it?”

Ouch.

You might be asking yourself, “Dude, why bother asking him if you know what he’s going to say?”

I ask myself that same question, although I don’t often call myself “dude.” I ask him because he’s smarter than I am, because he has a perspective that isn’t mine, because he’s a partner and he wants me to succeed and he wants me to flourish in the long term and for the right reasons.

Oh, yeah, well, there’s that. Yeah, it sucks.

Onto the strategy. It’s quite simple and it’s almost guaranteed to let you fail:

Don’t do anything.

Don’t try, don’t do, don’t take any (real) steps. Here, I’ll number them to make it easier to follow:

  1. Think about what you’d like to do.
  2. Dream about it.
  3. Don’t actually make any effort to actually achieve it.
  4. Dream some more.
  5. Go back to #2 if you have #1 down.

But be careful to not actually do anything — that’s cheating. Here’s a real life example in case you’re confused. This is from someone I know. OK, fine, it’s me, and Guest Posting:

  1. Write lots. In fact, Write Every Day! Woo hoo!
  2. Don’t submit article ideas to other online properties.
  3. Don’t enter writing contests or other venues where your writing might be seen.
  4. Think about what it’d be like to write for others.
  5. Don’t even contact people you know well to suggest possible articles you could write for them — and write well. They might say yes! Careful here.
  6. Dream about being famous and writing for multiple publications.
  7. Don’t act on any of those dreams.
  8. Keep going with this.
  9. Pretend it’s going to work. Someday.
  10. Go back to #1 if you get frustrated. (Whew! What a relief!)

Ouch. So that really hurt. I didn’t mean to be so viscious in this post, but that’s what it takes to fail. In other words:

Don’t Even Try.

“But I like taking courses and following gurus and doing workshops!”

OK, fine, you’d like to take a workshop to achieve success. I get it. But you know why? Because they’re fun. They’re on the path to “doing” but they’re still not actually doing. You’re learning about doing, you’re “meta doing.” It’s a lot more fun, it’s less effort (it’s passive, not active) and you think the success (and hard work) will just trickle into your veins like an IV drip.

So, before you take that advanced course. Before you sign up with the world-renowned goddess who’s going to take from A to Z. Before you enlist help. Try it out on your own.

Fail. Try again. It sucks, I know. Give it a shot. Go out of your happy and safe zone. Endure the pain. Live the frustration. You’ll grow. You’ll get there. But you have to give it a shot.

P.S. In not following this strategy, I am overcoming my weakness of Hitting Publish and holding onto an article I’m working on (“Everything I Learned About Sales I Learned at the Flea Market”) until I shop it around. I’m challenging myself by writing this post above and I’m up for the challenge. It feels painful, but that’s why it’s going to get better.

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