Fail Fast And Forward: 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Failures

by Michael Peggs

In life, there are winners and losers -- at least, that's what we're led to believe. Either you're up or you’re down, and the odds are rarely in your favor.

Sometimes, the prospect of failure can paralyze us. We do nothing but wait for our protectors to keep us safe. The mistake we make is standing by for success. Too afraid to make moves, fear becomes a prison of our own making. It holds us hostage, and we prefer to stay still than shoot for the stars.

I get it. It took me four years to quit my job at Google and run with my blog full-time. I made many mistakes along the way, but success can only follow failure. Let me explain:

Focus on the future

Sometimes, sh*t happens — so what? Only people who live in the past are disappointed in the present and afraid of the future. Get over what happened and remember what you have left to do.

You have a finite amount of time and energy to offer the world, and it can never be brought back. There’s no shuffle; you can’t skip tracks. You get a single shot, and you might miss. Let it go. Never live in the past; rather, learn from it.

Silence the skeptics

Care less about what people say, but study their steps. While their mouths may be running, no moves are being made.

In the age of Facebook fakes and Instagram imposters, it’s easier than ever to occupy an opinion without an outcome to back your position. Why worry what others think of you, especially when proof is hard to come by?

Take your time and do the work. Only you can decide when you’re ready, so don’t worry if it takes longer than you previously thought. It often does and people will always have something to say about your delay.

Keep this in mind: The only reason people talk behind your back is because you’re two steps ahead of them.

Look away and lean in

Dig in — all the way in. The only way to deal with distractions is to give yourself some distance. Take five, 10 or as many feet as you need and put some space between you and the problem. Be your solution.

Dedication requires separation, and in your separation, you’ll find a revelation. Step back from the crowd rather than fight to fit in. Commit to one thing, and turn a blind eye to everything and everyone else. 

Keep out of your comfort zone

Sort of like in the friend zone, nothing happens there! If you’re up to bat, then you’ll strike out every time. The solution is simple: Grow some balls.

Nothing worth having is ever easy. Say goodbye to convenience in the name of creating something better than what you had before. It’s the reason why I quit Google: I was tired of settling for "good enough."

It’s time to make room for great, and the only way to grow is when you go against the grain.

Make many mistakes

No one knows the answer. If you believe that, you'll stop searching and start doing. There is no right and wrong, just trials and triumphs. The only risk is not taking one, and there's freedom in knowing that anything goes.

The pressure comes off, and you’re able to experiment without expectations. When you work outside your comfort zone, you stretch yourself; you morph into whom you were meant to be.

Change course constantly

In tech talk, we call it pivoting, which is an obnoxious way to say "change."

Set a course, but make concessions. The majority of what you try won’t work out, but it’s best to get it out of the way. The longer it takes to fall down, the less time you'll have on your feet.

Be like a baby and crawl before you walk, but go into everything knowing you’ll start by stumbling along the way. Learn the lesson and move on. When something works, wash and repeat.

It takes time to figure out what’s right, so don’t hold onto what you think you know. Plan, but act in the present. 

Practice patience and persistence

According to Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers,” it takes 10,000 hours of practice to be your best at anything.

Do it on your own terms. Set your sights on success and go get it. The road will be rocky, but don’t let that stop you. Stumble, trip and fall, but get up. Get up and keep going.

The key to success is not being afraid to fail fast, fail forward and fail frequently.