For those who know me well, know that it’s always my greatest hope that I will be able to help people lead more fulfilling lives— to boldly pursue what they enjoy, to passionately engage in meaningful work, and to embrace new experiences and the unknown.
The idea of ‘failing fast’ provides a simple way to transform your life through small, immediate actions. When you embrace failure rather than resist it, every moment provides the opportunity to: learn, experience, wonder, grow, create, appreciate, be surprised, share, and feel more connected.
Take this message to heart and have fun failing. The more you fail, the more you will live, and you deserve to experience all of the wonderful gifts life has to offer. To help you get started failing as quickly and frequently as possible, I want to touch upon some key ideas and provide suggestions as to how you can apply then, starting today.
1. Remember The Fun Factor
I can’t stress enough, the importance of building enjoyment into your life. By doing what you love, you place yourself in an appreciative mind-set that allows you to think more creatively, work more productively, and capitalize on unexpected opportunities. So starting today, set aside at least five minutes for unadulterated pleasure. Read an interesting book, get a massage, or enjoy one of your hobbies.
2. Do It Badly as Fast as You Can
Successful people have a knack for performing poorly. They deliberately seek out opportunities where they can face the limits of their skills and knowledge so that they can encounter the unknown and learn. In this spirit, we encourage you to find something that you have been meaning to do and to give yourself permission to do it badly right away. For example, you could shake your booty on the dance floor, deliver a really poor rendition of Mariah Carey at next weeks karaoke night, or attempt your first blog post.
3. Break from Your Routine
You are more likely to encounter unexpected opportunities and ideas when you are doing new things—trying activities, exploring unfamiliar places, meeting people, or being exposed to different ideas or cultures. So find a way today to step out of your usual habits and thinking patterns to experience new possibilities. For example, you might introduce yourself to a stranger, attend an offbeat play or attend an exercise class that you normally wouldn’t.
4. Un-Plan It
Successful people have a lean approach to planning. They find ways to take small steps in order to experiment, collect information, and adjust course, without the need for a huge investment or long-term commitment. With this in mind, rather than worry about your plans for the next month or year, focus on what you can do today. Take a small, immediate step related to your interests or aspirations. For example, you might talk to an expert, sign up for a conference, buy a book, or begin creating the prototype for your new product idea.
Do It Anyway
It is natural to feel uncertain, unmotivated, or fearful when facing new challenges. But negative feelings shouldn’t stop you. The best way to gain confidence and have a more optimistic outlook is to take action, even though you’re not feeling up to it. The next time you find yourself hesitating due to your negative moods, get going anyway. Go for a run even though you feel lethargic; invite a colleague to lunch even though you feel shy; volunteer for a project even though you doubt your abilities; or enroll in a challenging course even though you feel unprepared.
Now it’s time for you to get out there and fail as quickly as you possibly can. And then fail again. It is in the moments of failure that you will experience the greatest growth, boost your resilience and elevate your confidence to a whole new level.