Big audacious goals are the greatest cause of pain, anxiety, failure, rejection and depression … Read on
- Twelve Steps to Achievement
- Progression and Reward
- There’s Always Another Goal!
- Failing to Win
“Set your goals for 2020” … Yawn! … Heard it all before.
I wrote this section many years ago when I first started out in business, as I was learning established strategies and was putting into action the things I was discovering whilst researching and writing The Omniscience Principle.
Every guru I studied had THE answer and would preach something along the line of:
Goal setting will become your number one skill. Once you have mastered goal setting, everything else will follow.
Today, many, long, hard, arduous years later, I feel that this section needs to come with a big, fat Entrepreneur Health Warning!
Yes, I agree that the value of goal setting cannot be underestimated but having set more than I care to mention and failed at most, now realise that goals in and of themselves, can be the greatest cause of pain, anxiety, failure and depression.
We are taught that once a goal is committed to paper, something magical happens. That wish is no longer a spark of electricity pinging around your head, it materializes, it will slowly become reality.
A goal written down is a ‘to do’, an action, something that will stare you in the face and harass you until it can be crossed off your ‘to do list’.
Goals are desires, written down they become your map of achievement. Thoughts become words, words become actions, actions produce the life you want.
All of this is true. What is also true is that Ying is balanced by Yang, good is balanced by evil and achievements are balanced by failures.
Our bodies are hard-wired for survival. When we were still running about in animal skins, the slaying of a great mammal or mortal enemy would be rewarded with a huge release of endorphins, dopamine and serotonin.
A whoop and a holler and an explosion of unbridled delight … we all know that wonderful feeling!
The immense joy we feel when we achieve is balanced by an even deeper low when we fail, accompanied with the release of cortisol.
Contrary to Nietzsche’s adage, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, the effects of failing are debilitating or worse and limit your likelihood of success forever.
According to people who study this stuff, failing is a form of rejection and the release of cortisol is the closet feeling we have to physical pain. Being kicked out of the tribe was a death sentence and that wiring loom is still intact.
It’s like being kicked in the nuts! The pain and release of chemicals is the body’s way of ensuring it doesn’t have to go through that sickening, gut-wrenching feeling again. It’s so powerful that the opponent only has to flinch and your body will immediately react. (Sorry ladies, I don’t know what the equivalent to getting a kicked in the gonads is for you 🙂 )
Fear and rejection, your body reacts negatively to the prospect and potential pain.
In one experiment, an American Football goal was set up on an unmarked field. Kickers took it in turn to punt the ball though the uprights. Those that failed estimated the posts to be further away and higher than they actually were! Failure was distorting the perception of the failing participants.
The goal posts remained where they were planted, it was perception that changed.
I would set my goals and in line with the gurus’ teachings; I would set them as high and ambitious and as aspirational and as unachievable as possible.
I was like Sisyphus, condemned to pushing an immense boulder, tirelessly and for all eternity up a mountain only to find that as I peaked, the rock would roll back to the bottom.
And when I missed my goal, I would receive a huge, great number fifteen, steel-toecap boot, squarely in the nether regions.
The resulting, overwhelming feeling I experienced after failure after failure after failure, affected me more deeply than I could have ever known. Confusion reigned and self-pity was rampant. “What was going on?” I was doing all the right things, I was setting the goals, why wasn’t I achieving them, what had I done in a former life to deserve such bad luck?
I’ve learned that with big goals comes BIG failures and with bigger goals comes BIGGER failures and with unachievable goals comes … GUARANTEED FAILURE!
Of course, there are exceptions as some attain the biggest, boldest of goals … but not us. We are mere mortals, doing the best we can in a world full of super-heroes, mega-celebrities and high-achievers.
So on one hand we have to set goals, on the other, they need to be achievable.
Set a realistic goal, achieve it, bathe in the feel-good chemicals, set the next goal, one small, achievable goal after another. Soon enough, your goals will become bigger, rounded and managed.
Why do we even need to set goals?
The time has come to decorate your front room.
The obvious approach would be to spend hours trawling through books and magazines. Discuss plans with family and friends. Look at other rooms to get ideas for the masterpiece. Develop a mood board, choose colours, matching furniture, covers, drapery and plan what you want the finished space to look like.
Imagine, for this example, I’ve poked you in the eyes with a sharpened stick. You’ve spent a few weeks in hospital, had a couple of unsuccessful operations and have been sent home with a white cane. Before I stabbed your eyes out, you’d noticed that your living room needed decorating … nothing’s changed, the room still needs to be decorated!
You weren’t quite sure what you wanted before my assault and as you’ve got no eyes, you can’t look at books or other peoples’ ideas. You can’t colour co-ordinate because you can’t see. What the hell? You decide to crack on regardless. You manage to get yourself down to the local DIY store, fumble around and eventually stumble upon the paint department. You buy the first tins that come to hand and ask the young assistant to deliver to your house those bits of furniture you bashed into on your way round.
You spend the next couple of months doing up the room. Splash goes the paint, up goes the wallpaper and in goes the furniture and carpet. And you finally give yourself a big pat on the back for a job well done.
Three months later, you get call from the hospital. Thanks to advances in technology a ‘miracle operation’ has been perfected and your sight can be restored. You have the op and suddenly you can see again. Gingerly, after some recuperation, you leave the ward. You get home, make a cup of tea and proceed to that living room you so carefully refurbished.
Can you imagine the mess?
Ridiculous story, right? Who in their right mind would decorate a room blind?
Well, why do 99% of people make the biggest decisions of their lives with their eyes wide shut? Why do so many people plan their future, blind?
The room you decorated didn’t stand a chance because you couldn’t see what you were doing and had no idea what it was going to turn out like.
It was only when your sight returned could you see the mayhem you’d created. If you have no idea how the room is going to turn out, how do you expect to get what you want?
If you take the children on a day out to the zoo in an unknown town you follow a map to ensure you arrive there on time and have a super day. You wouldn’t ever consider saying to the missus, “pack the bags, strap in the kids, were going for a drive around the country for a day or so until we come across a zoo!” … Would you???
If you have no idea where you are going then how are you going to get there?
We are about to start on that journey to wealth, freedom and fulfillment.
A goal not written down is just a wish!
GOAL SHEET — KEEP IT SOMEWHERE SAFE
Go get a pen and paper and let’s go through this exercise … I know time is short but just indulge me, it’ll be worth it!
- What part of the country would it be in?
- Would it be in the city or in the country?
- Would it be old or would you build a new one to your own specifications?
- How many bedrooms would it have?
- How much land would go with it?
- Would it have a swimming pool, snooker room, sauna, gym, stables, a courtyard?
Spend the next ten minutes describing your new home in detail: The kitchen, the decor, the furniture, every single detail.
- Do you need more than one house? If so, write down where you want it or them to be.
Describe what you need in detail as if I were in a position to grant your every wish, tell me what you want, here, right now, write it down.
- What do you want to drive? Make, model, colour and accessories?
- Need a second car? Make, model, colour and accessories?
- Do you want a boat? Make, model and where are you going to keep it?
Fun isn’t it? Writing down your dreams.
Mellora, the genie of the lamp can grant you as many wishes as you desire.
What else do you require in your lavish new lifestyle Sir/Madam? … Just write it here.
- You got it! Where?
- Certainly… Make, model and colour?
Fill your pages with everything what you want from life, relationships, income, everything. Not what you’ve had, not what you think you can have, but what you want … If there’s not enough room, you little live-wire you, get some more paper!
- The most valuable jewel of all! How much do you want to allocate to yourself and your family?
Now, we get to the most important and rewarding part of your goal setting.
I have faith in you, it is my true belief that you have a good heart and soul and that you will do the very best you can do in anything and everything you do. My hope (weak and insipid word) is that you’re not going to do a Floyd Mayweather and post vane and arrogant and cheap YouTube videos of yourself flashing cash.
I’m sure you would be lacking something inside to feel the need to act like that!
Today you‘re going to write down the good and honorable achievements you’re going to accomplish the moment you are free.
Great and Honorable Goal
- Who are you going to help? What are you going to help? How many trees are you going to plant? Do the Polar Bears need your attention or is it the Sumatran Rhino or Siberian Tiger? The children forced into child labour? The trafficked sex-slaves? The Slaves? The climate? Plastic? Big business?
It’s not hard to set worthy and honorable goals is it?
Don’t Skip This!
You may feel you may want to skip this section; you may think that taking part in a gimmicky little exercise like ‘goal setting’ is a waste of time.
You may think you don’t need this. If that’s your attitude then either change it now or click away. Read no further. You have no need for it. You contemplated becoming free because you assumed you have the right mind set.
If you are unable to change your indifference towards what I ask of you at this stage, no matter how insignificant or trivial it may seem, we are wasting each other’s time. Everything we do together in this publication has a premeditated impact on your life. Each little thing we do now will eventually ensure you build that fortress of yours.
The Roman Empire was built one clay brick at a time.
They built much of it on the foundations left by older civilizations. They studied and reinvented ancient systems and adopted many … Never, I repeat never, did they dismiss a theory or practice of the conquered until it had been thoroughly considered.
Goal setting may have been written about in the past and you may well have practiced it … you most certainly haven’t thoroughly thought it through in the context of what I’m writing today.
Things that seem totally pointless have a very real and important reason for being included. All I ask it that you ‘give it a go’, then review the results at the end. Don’t pass judgment until we’ve finished.
If you’ve done an exercise like this before … DO IT AGAIN!
Now have you got your pen or are you sat at your keyboard?
Do not write down what you would settle for. Do not write down what you think you will be able to afford in twelve months. Write down what you want and need! If money were no object, if I gave you a blank cheque, how would you use it? Carte blanche.
Scroll down to the next section ONLY WHEN YOU’VE COMPLETED YOUR ASSIGNMENT.
Twelve Steps to Achievement
Go back and read what you’ve just written.
I said go back and read what you’ve just written, I know you didn’t! … THIS IS YOUR GOAL SHEET — KEEP IT SOMEWHERE SAFE
Now comes the part that’ll keep you sane!
Choose the most important, achievable and manageable goal.
Break it into twelve smaller goals. These represent the twelve stages you need to get through to achieve the grand vision.
For example: You want to leave your job. This is the end game, the grand vision. Do not go and hand your notice in tomorrow. Sure, you’ll get that release of endorphins as you punch the over-bearing, bigoted, self-important boss in the nose. And you’ll have achieved your goal but the next day, endorphins will be replaced by cortisol as the realisation that you’ve done a very stupid thing indeed.
Leaving your job or creating a more profitable business will be a staged process, which will require planning. How are you going to pay the bills? How much time can you dedicate to your new venture? What is it going to take to get your new venture off the ground?
Those will be your TWELVE STEPS TO ACHIEVEMENT.
When and only when you have a planned goal, when and only when you’ve surmounted each of the twelve steps and you’re in a strong position, able to support yourself going forward, can you walk into that office and give the boss a good left hook 🙂 … No! Don’t do that!
Those are your goals and planned achievements, a tangible, real place … where you are going and what you will acquire.
Nothing, I mean nothing is going to stop you from having all the things you have fantasized about. Believe me, you are more than capable of having all this and more. Nothing can stop you now — ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
Never again will you settle for second best, mediocrity. Why settle for linen when you can have silk?
Now you know exactly what you want. Now you know exactly where you are going. Every time things aren’t going well and you are feeling negativity, turn to your goal sheet. Remind yourself where you’re going and see the levels you have to surmount.
If you’ve stalled at the third stage it matters not. Do not, and I mean this with every cell of my being … DO NOT BEAT YOURSELF UP.
It’s a setback, not a failure. In fact it’s not even a setback, it’s a level in a computer game that’s just a little to hard to get through at this point. Those pesky space ships with their darned, infuriating lasers!
Do what a gamer would do (no! not throw the handset at the TV!) … Simply start again and again and again and again and with practice, eventually you’ll survive the firestorm, complete the level and hop it onto the next, harder one.
The irony is, that once you’ve completed a level in a computer game and gone onto complete the next, each time you restart from the beginning, completing the previous levels are so easy they become a formality.
The computer game analogy is an excellent one, even if I say so myself!
The gaming industry is now far bigger and more lucrative than the movies. People watch a movie once … they play games over and over.
The gaming development companies employ a business strategy known as Progression and Reward.
Single level games simply do not exist for the same reason big goals fail. Games are always broken down onto progressively harder levels and with each completion comes a reward.
There will be an entire team whose brief will be to work out more engaging and addictive ways to reward players. They spend millions hooking the player into their particular production. It’s subtle and players simply perceive the difficulties on their current level as something to overcome in pursuit of the reward and the next level.
And that’s the way Twelve Steps to Achievement needs to work. The reward for each subsequent level needs to be such that you’re oblivious to the difficulties on the current one.
Progression and Reward
How Awesome! …. How Fucking Awesome Was That!!!
I’ve just returned from the best ride ever … Nooo! Stoppit!!! OK, I’ll rephrase. I’ve just returned from the best mountain bike ride ever.
Here in Nelson New Zealand, we are blessed with epic geography and draped over the hillsides like slithering eels are the most fantastic biking tracks.
I have my favorite ride, which, whilst no Red Bull Rampage, is probably on the limit of what a bloke my age should be doing. There’s some technical parts, steep bits, drop offs, jumps, jumps into berms, water crossings, flowing bits, tight bits. All good stuff.
Today, I absolutely nailed it!
Everything flowed, the planets aligned. The braking, just right, not too hard, not too slack. The jumps hit on target and landed softly on the down side. The perfect adjustments through the rocky forest sections as pine trees whistled past at unnerving speed. The body position into each hairpin berm, the increased G force as I’m whipped out of the other side. The drop offs, dropped without a shudder. Catching the sudden fall as the front skidded out.
Awesome! Just fucking awesome.
And as I slammed on the brakes at the end of the run, at that moment when life was as good as it could be. There was a split second of shock and awe as it dawned on me how well that just went and then, before another single thought could pass, there was an explosion…
An explosion of copious quantities of happy juice delivered by my body in recognition of my achievement. Endorphins, testosterone and an intoxicating cocktail of really, really good shit, screaming through my veins. I sat there for a minute, hollering and whooping and fist pumping in sheer joy.
Then the embarrassed realization that people could be watching!
I did a quick 360 to check and all was good. Smiled to myself thinking what would they have thought: “quick, clear the mountain, there’s a mad man about”.
And off I set for the next glorious section.
On the slow climb up, I’d slipped into my usual day dreaming state and had begun ruminating on this section of The Omniscience Principle; thinking about setting goals and how smart I was that I’d come up with the Twelve Steps to Achievement.
I reminisced about how disastrous my goal setting had been. Big goals came with bigger falls. “The twelve steps, yes, that’s the answer!”
Then, as I thought more about goal setting I realised that on the whole, it’s not an enjoyable process at all. You don’t set goals to see how lazy you can be.
“This month my goal is to sit on the massage chair for five hours a day and relax as candle wax is dripped onto my nipples and warm baby oil is … mmmm no!”
Goals require effort and need us to step out of the comfort zone, which by very definition, is uncomfortable.
Big goals, little goals, it’s all the same. My Twelve Steps to Achievement is a move in the right direction but then I asked myself a very uncomfortable question:
“Have I just set up a staircase of false summits?”
There’s nothing more demoralizing when out in the hills and you’re heading for a peak and as you approach, another summit appears on the horizon, and another, and another. Each time you think you’re there, you crest the hill only to find another. You steel yourself, summon the go, go juice and set off again and again and again.
“Have I simply broken the big goals into more and more hills to surmount on the climb to the top?”
And to make matters worse, there’s rarely a definable moment of achievement. Goals generally require another goal to be set in the immediate aftermath. And on it goes.
Then I began to think of the section above regarding the gaming industry.
What are they doing that is so addictive; how are they making their games the drug of choice for millions of people around the world?
The phrase given to me by my addicted son, Progression and Reward started to ping around my grey matter.
The game developers hook in their prey with a never-ending conveyor of rewards.
Daa … da, da, da, daaaaaaa! Congratulations, you’ve successfully slaughtered the wookies and the werewolves, well done … here’s a little squirt of happy juice 🙂
The gamer is rewarded and without a second thought moves onto the next and progressively harder level. Bigger levels, bigger rewards.
Heck, gamers now spend all their pocket money and the cash made from the previous night’s burglary to buy cheats and guns and grenades and many strange things to guarantee their way to the kingdom of happy juice.
Immediately after showering in my huge squirt of happy juice today, it dawned on me.
We need to apply the strategy of Progression and Reward to our own goal setting. We need to get a little squirt of happy juice for the levels we complete.
So how do we do that?
Instead of looking at my Twelve Steps to Achievement as a series of false summits, treat them as levels in a game … you are now well and truly in The Matrix!
Set out your twelve sub goals and by each, design a reward. It has to be instant gratification, something that’ll get those juices flowing. Be it a bottle of perfume, a twelve year old whiskey, a new car, a special meal, hey, even a good old fashioned drunken night out on the town with a bar brawl thrown in!
Whatever it is, do something special.
Becoming addicted to achievement will be as seamless as the spotty teenagers getting hooked on whatever the hell it is that they waste their teenage lives playing!
The brain will begin to crave the reward of achievement, no longer will goals be seen as anything other than levels of success and reward.
There’s Always Another Goal!
If you aren’t achieving things at the pace you require simply … RELAX!
This is a marathon, not a hundred meter sprint! Remind yourself what it is you are working towards and enjoy the beauty of today.
You can’t change the past, each day is a new day and you’re now on the long and winding road, lined with remarkable things.
Take a postcard and write down your current goal … AND REWARD!
Keep it with you at all times and whip it out (the card!) when you need clarity of vision!
Your goals don’t have to be material things either. If your goal is to become happy because you’re not, set out what you need to do in twelve steps.
Your goal could be very uncomfortable, for instance, you may be in a very unhappy relationship. Set out a path.
Plan each step of the murder … nooooo! … only joking!! Plan each step to happiness and remember to include the levels of pain you will undoubtedly endure. And most importantly of all, ensure that there’s a hulking, fat reward at the end … it could be a steamy night with an hot Italian gigolo for finally kicking the ungrateful pig out of the house. Something, something very nice indeed for the small summit you’re now standing on, flag in hand.
YOU ARE CHANGING … You have changed because you know you will never be content with what you have at present.
You know you will never be truly happy in the life you are living. You aren’t content now. If you were, then all the goals you just tried to set would be blank. You would have no goals because you’d have now, whatever you could wish for!
You will never feel truly fulfilled and content until you have what you have just spent the last twenty minutes writing about … and be warned, even then, you won’t be truly content … it’s human nature!
I remember an actress talking about winning the Oscar on some chat show. She said that she’d reached the pinnacle of her ambitions in winning the award. It was everything she’d been working towards. She said that once she won, she thought that would be it and was quite disappointed to find that life simply goes on afterwards.
Book stores are full of biographies and autobiographies of the people we look up to. I’ve been surprised at how many go through the same trials normal people do. How many have to deal with negativity and depression and anxiety and pain and self-doubt.
There’s not a high performance individual on Earth that has achieved all their goals; they have constant goals because that is what makes them tick, it’s the very being they are.
And this is where my goal setting health warning needs to be heeded. It’s often the case that when the big goals are achieved that they don’t deliver the happy juice injection the person anticipated. In fact, the sense of disappointment can be utterly crushing, requiring readjustment and new goals to be set.
Goals don’t have to be about money. It’s simply a fact of life that cash brings many of the things that make up a fulfilled life … but not always the case!
Old William Gates (Microsoft), heard of him? His goals at the outset of his monumental business career would have been totally materialistic. After having amassed more wealth than many countries, his goals have become more philanthropic. He is now becoming fulfilled by giving away some of his assets.
You now have a clear picture in your mind of what you are going to have and where you are going. You are no longer trying to decorate a room with your eyes poked out. You know exactly what that room will look like when it’s finished and you are not going to stop until it’s just the way you want it — the way you had planned it today.
Every single person will have a different answers, yet all are on their way to acquiring what is set out in their goal and reward sheets. Just by writing down and having a clear picture in your head of what you want will give you a better chance than anything I know of getting it.
Now write and complete the next sentence below your biggest goal, the one you plan on working through first.
I will have achieved: ‘THE GOAL’ by: ‘THE DATE’
Simply by typing that, you’ve cemented a ‘due by’ date. You now have a clear picture of where you are going and when you are going to get there.
Now go back and draw a big fat line through that date!
Because it’s another trap, another exercise disseminated by the gurus that will ENSURE you fail.
An unachievable goal with an impossibly unachievable deadline!
You have your goals and the Twelve Steps to Achievement for each. At any time along that road you can test to see if you are on target. If you’re not, then you simply have to make adjustments don’t you?
This isn’t a race. The goals are just that. If it were a simple case of setting them down with a due by date then we’d all be living the Life of Riley (whoever he was!)
You are in The Matrix playing the game of life. You have started ascending the levels. Your present standard of living will fade away into insignificance. All those silly little things that niggle and upset you today will be of no importance in a few weeks time.
Stop worrying — 95% of the things you worry
about never happen anyway!
Start to feel happy … You are taking the right steps.
Next time you look in the mirror, smile at yourself. You can smile because you know things are going to be OK, you’ll make sure of that. There is nothing on this planet that could block your path to success. You are as powerful as any other human on this Earth.
There is no one better than you. Achievers aren’t super-humans put together in a laboratory and filled with success genes — NO!
They are ordinary people just like you. They are not special. Their only secret is that they believe in what they are doing and know exactly where they are going. They don’t stop failing until they triumph.
From today, so will you!
The only thing that can stop you is YOU, and that’s not going to happen is it?
There will be many times when you will feel frustrated. Achieving your goals will not be easy. In fact, it will be incredibly hard, and there will be many occasions when you will feel so low you will wonder if it’s all worth it. Only you will be able to answer that and with your crystal clear goals embedded, you will pick yourself up, you will go on to bigger things and better places you old cockroach you!
When I get frustrated I just take a step back. I go for a quiet walk in the forest near my home or the beach near my Mediterranean villa and try to get a grip. I look at where I started and where I am now. I have achieved so much and come so far. I could be very happy with my current lifestyle, but because I know where I am going and have a clear vision of the good things I want to do, I won’t settle for second best — although second best for me is a pretty nice place to be.
“When you reach for the stars you won’t end up with a hand full of dust.”
Your life is changing, you are a different person from the one who began reading this module.
YOU ARE GOING TO BE BIGGER THAN
YOU EVER DREAMED YOU COULD BE
In this module we are setting the foundations upon which you will build your own empire. This is the spring-board from which you will soar.
Now we need to step out and achieve those goals and turn conventional wisdom on its head.
Failing to Win
Conventional wisdom would have us believe that we need to fail many times in order to win. I agree.
The conventional model would also have us believe that ahead of us is a two lane highway. One lane (I’ll call it the left) is the failure lane, the right is the winner’s lane. The model assumes that success and failure are linear, that the lanes run side by side; that we are either winning or losing.
The model teaches us that we must travel the failure lane occasionally whilst all the time steering to the right; to cross the meridian and sit in the fast lane, the winner’s lane. Once there we must do all we can to avoid drifting back into the failure lane. We’re taught to keep the ball in the field of play, that if we run down the wing we must tip-toe along the white line and look to move infield … with this, I disagree!
At my favourite mountain bike park there is a large drop off, some thirty feet. It’s a sheer cliff with deep ruts gouged out by rainfall. Somewhere on the net there’s a video of my attempt to master it. It opens with me sitting high upon my steed, surveying the ground below like a conquering general.
You can see my hesitation as I summon up the ‘stupid juice’ which annoyingly is refusing to enter my blood stream. I’ve managed to garner a small audience and not wanting to let them down I go for it anyway, much to the annoyance of my subconscious. I roll off the edge, continue rolling with forward momentum, I roll over the handle bars and stare, wide eyed directly into the rapidly approaching loam some feet below, the front wheel hits the ground, buckles under my hundred odd kilo frame and I smash head first into the ground. I break a couple of ribs, my helmet is a cracked boiled egg shell and how I didn’t break my neck, only Lady Luck will know!
I failed dismally and that was the end of that. I am, at the time of writing, still a failure. This was a couple of years ago and I’m working my way up to it. A number of teenagers have mastered the drop and it’s a sight, an absolute anticlimax. The first time I watched someone nail it, they rolled off, hit the run off and that was that. Simple! No drama!
I came across a video on the WhatWhat or LubeTube, one of those channels … In Las Vegas there’s a replica of the Arc de Triomphe, a huge monument in France. The video shows a bloody impressive stunt. It opens with a guy on a motocross bike. He sets off, hits the jump and lands atop the monument some hundred feet in the air. He takes a few moments to compose himself and then drops off the other side.
The video goes on to show you how he did it.
It took him twelve months to prepare. He had a life-size replica built at his home out in the desert and had platforms built. He started at just a few feet, got confident and began understanding the dynamics. When he mastered a level, then and only then would he move higher. He continued this progression, a couple of meters at a time until the final level became simply muscle memory.
Now this guy didn’t set up his practice model to win … he set it up to fail.
He set it up and adjusted his mind set to fail and fail and fail and fail again.
And this is where the Philosophy of I helps us understand the world better. By simply changing our perspective, we see things differently.
There’s not a sportsperson in the world that prepares to win, they all prepare to fail. Think about it!
The guy that nailed the Arc de Triomphe stunt knew that he was going to fail many times, he had safety netting and ropes to capture him safely when he failed. The guys and gals who do those amazing stunts at Nitro Circus fail a thousand times in the foam pit before even attempting to do a somersault for real.
A skier will do the same when practising tricks and jumps. A racing driver will be fully protected and prepared for failure with carbon seats, helmet, fire suit and five point harness. The track will have tyre walls and run offs for when a driver fails.
The high trapeze artist has nets and a fall harness, the rock climber has a safety rope for when they fail and fall to otherwise certain death. The person losing weight will know it’s not a smooth scale of diminishing numbers. There will be good days and there will be fat days, generally more fat days than not.
A pilot will not jump in a 747, they’ll spend hundreds of hours crashing into the runway before even attempting to do it for real.
A gamer would never expect to start a new level and be able to master it immediately, there would be no point in the game. They’re going to get decapitated, dismembered or blown to red mist a thousand times before they move on.
The blackbird knows it will have to tug on a hundred worms before it pulls a whole one out of the ground; it spends most of his day with no worm or a worm tail, or is it head? It is a failure most of the time.
Apply the conventional success model to my examples above and our players are spending all their time in the left lane, the failure lane, our high-performing individuals are failures. Winning would be called a fluke in some cases.
There are very few circumstances where we have the confidence to jump right into the fast lane … yet by following conventional wisdom, this is exactly what we expect of ourselves when going for business and life goals.
And this is the change in perspective we must make.
Winning and failing, they are not linear, it’s not a matter of lanes … Failure is absolute, failure is inevitable!
The road ahead, the one with markers and goals placed at the side, it’s not a black ribbon of well laid road with a perfectly painted dividing line … it’s a dirty, dusty track full of ruts and mud and high corners and worst of all, jumps, big, gnarly, balls in the throat, jumps.
There is only one lane; the track is the winning lane, jumps are the failures in your way. They block your road; they are in front of you, not parallel and unless you get over them, you will not finish … FACT!
Winning is a result of failing, there are no choices!
Some of those jumps are what we call table tops. There’s a ramp, a flat top and a run off. See them ahead, prepare our self, hit the ramp. Sometimes we’ll make it, others we’ll case it, hit the top of the table and roll down the run off.
Others are called gap jumps, these are bigger fails. A ramp, a run off and a dirty great gap in the middle. When we see these approaching the old subconscious begins to call out: “don’t be so fucking stupid, you complete and utter idiot!”. These jumps are not to be treated lightly but we have no choice, we have to go for it … and more than likely fail.
The thing to understand with our changed perspective regarding business and life goals is that our track is literally littered with gap jumps. We’re going to spend all our time tackling them. Some we’ll roll, some will jump but we’re constantly failing, stuck in the mire of failing … And this needs to make us feel good!
With the conventional model, it is only when we’re racing along in the fast lane, enjoying the V12 song of the engine, that we’re told we can feel successful, that we are a winner with special winner’s privileges.
When we’re plodding along in the failure lane, in that rusty old pick trailing a plume of unburnt oil from the exhaust and targets aren’t met then we’re seen as a useless waste of flesh and bone.
This model is drummed into us over and over … win, win, win, win you moron!
This model causes us to feel bad, to feel unworthy, to feel rejected, to feel completely fucking useless.
Winners aren’t winners at all … they’re the biggest failures.
Once we realise that we simply cannot win until we’ve tackled the jumps, that they are and always will be in our road, the negativity and the overwhelming sense of failure, fades.
For me, once I accepted that being a failure was a thoroughly good thing, I began to feel better in myself. I steel myself each day for the failures ahead. If I win, I’ll embrace that moment but I know it won’t last, it is a law of nature specially reserved for mere mortals like us.
“Look up” … My wife is into horses. Dangerous at both ends and stupid in the middle … and as for the horses … No! Another joke!!!
When she’s teaching my daughters to jump she’s constantly calling “look up”. As soon as the rider looks at the jump then so does the horse and everything goes wrong. Looking up ensures the horse looks up and they clear the jump in one smooth arc.
When I’m riding my bikes I am aware of a phenomena we call ‘rut fever’. The number one rule is to ‘never, ever look at the rut’, or the tree, or the drop to the side, or the rock, for if you do, as sure as the tides rise and fall … you will hit it.
Always look where you want to go and the obstacles are overcome virtually unnoticed.
It’s the same with the gap jumps. There is no way to avoid them. We have choices. We can give in to our inner voice and not attempt to clear such a long, dark chasm. We can roll over the ramp, ride through the muddy gap and roll out of the other side. Or we can resolve to master the gap jump.
To do this we look up to where we want to land, we hit the ramp smoothly taking care not to throttle on or off as this will either flip the bike or send it nose down. We look to the landing and place the bike on it. The more we fail, the better we get and bones break less often. As we continue to fail, the gap will become less intimidating. A really good rider will learn how to ‘fly’ the bike. When the nose dips, a quick twist of the throttle and it’ll lift. If the bike is pointing too high, tap the rear brake and the nose will drop.
I hang a hei matau, a Maori bone carving of a fish hook from my computer screen. It’s to remind me during the times when I feel like giving up, that if my hook is not in the water, I’ll never catch a fish.
No matter how we choose to tackle our obstacles, one thing is for sure. Life is not liner, it is a series of unavoidable fails. We can get good at overcoming them but there is no avoiding them. We can’t steer around them by pulling into the winner’s lane because you are already in it!
Winners and Losers, these are simply labels manufactured to confine us. According to the Philosophy of I there are no winners or losers … it is what it is!
So long as we’re failing, we’re in the game of winning and that has to make us feel good.
You are Awesome, Invincible,
a Relentless Money Machine
Soon, this is what those closest to you will be thinking
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