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Fail Fast, Fail Often

How Losing Can Help You Win

By Ryan Babineaux, Ph.D. and John Krumboltz, Ph.D.
  • Read in 15 minutes
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  • Contains 9 key ideas
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Fail Fast, Fail Often by Ryan Babineaux, Ph.D. and John Krumboltz, Ph.D.

Fail Fast, Fail Often reminds us that our fear of failure can keep us from having new experiences, meeting new people, and creating our own happiness. By embracing failure we can lead happier, more successful lives.

Key idea 1 of 9

Fulfilled, joyful people make things happen rather than waiting for them to happen on their own.

Do you feel dissatisfied and bored with your life, of the same old routine of going to work, coming home, and watching television? Then why don’t you make a change?

For most of us, the reason is fear.

Many people think that in order to achieve their goals they need to have a perfectly formulated action plan. But such a plan is unrealistic and, failing to achieve one, many people are afraid to take action.

This outlook on life is known as the not-yet approach: we want success and happiness, but we’re so afraid of failing due to the lack of a perfect plan that whenever it’s time to say action, we say “not-yet.”

However, we should reverse this mindset: we should find happiness in the present moment, not wait for a future event to bring us happiness!

For starters, we should start doing small things to make ourselves happy; we will likely see positive results.

Consider a Cornell University psychology study in which doctors who cheered themselves up by eating candy before talking to patients were more productive and performed more accurate diagnoses and treatments. Even this little pick-me-up resulted in a marked performance improvement!

In addition, we must realize that success does not come from planning; it comes from seizing opportunities when they appear.

Clif Bar, one of the most successful powerbar brands is a case in point. The founder, Gary Erickson, didn’t start the brand thanks to careful planning; the idea came to him one time after cycling when he felt sick from eating other powerbars. He decided to take action, and designed more flavorful, natural ones that became a huge hit.

So stop waiting for things to be better. Go create something better, instead!

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