Failure Is a Bummer But Not Trying Will Haunt You
Now that I'm an old man (I'm 31), I can tell you what you should do in your 20's so that you can be ahead of me when you enter your 3rd decade of existence. That's largely what our Success Principles are based on.
Most of us have heard the quote-
It's a decent concept.
We need to look beyond it to fully understand and appreciate it's significance, however.
In our recent podcast with Scotty and twice in the past weeks to two aspiring actresses (comedy), I mentioned a concept that I've been living by and sharing with others for years-
You will regret not trying far more than you will regret failing.
To some this might be profound. To others it might be old news.
Either way, let me prove it to you.
Think back to something significant you wanted to do in your life.
(Even if it's small, the metaphor can apply universally - especially to career)
Think about something that you got all excited about - but ultimately quit/moved on from.
You might be a bit embarrassed that you only achieved modest success.
You might even be a little ashamed that you quit.
Maybe your "failed" venture turned out to accelerate another area of your life and thus wasn't a complete failure.
Maybe it was a COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME.
Regardless of the outcome, even if you regret it, chances are - it seemed like the right thing at the time and AT LEAST YOU TRIED.
Trying and failing, no matter how humiliating the defeat, you can find peace with.
Not trying, however, you will ALWAYS WONDER -
This is especially true if you had a "PLAN A" but - without even trying - you opted for the safer, more predictable PLAN B.
Even if you are able to rationalize PLAN B - YOU WILL STILL WONDER -
That is the kind of stuff that keeps you up at night.
That is the kind of stuff that makes for a MID-LIFE CRISIS.
That is the kind of stuff that you will regret for the rest of your life.
This is the kind of stuff that I want to prevent from happening to you.
I sat here for 30 minutes trying to think of the ONE THING that I most regret NOT DOING in my life.
Thankfully, yet frustrating for the purposes of this article, I have no major regrets and certainly none that were practical at the time.
That's not because "everything worked out"; it's because I've pretty much tried to do everything that I wanted.
- I always wanted to do steroids and get as big and strong as I could - I did that.
- I always wanted to start my own business(es) that generate a significant amount of passive income - I've done that.
- I always wanted to move to the West Coast, go to the clubs and parties and sleep with some of the best looking girls - I did that too.
- I always wanted to see if our original inline hockey team could win on the National Level - we won the National Championship in Summer of 2005.
- I always wanted to try and play college football - so went through with my plan but got injured - no regrets.
- I thought I wanted to go to Law School, so I got a scholarship and left after 10 days - mission accomplished - no regrets.
- I always wanted to be a personal trainer with a high-society clientele - I did that.
When you Do What You Want - you'll usually have very few regrets - even if you make the wrong decision or "fail".
I've done a decent job at that. Even though I often moved at a snail's pace.
I wish I spent a few months as a bartender at an upscale Hollywood club, I wish I went to some more parties in college and I wish I settled certain confrontations with my fist but I don't have any significant regrets.
My one "What if..." takes me back to age 15.
Between the summer of 9th and 10th grade, in my only second year of playing ice hockey, I was recruited by the Rochester Junior Americans to play Junior Hockey in what was formerly the USA-Ontario 'Golden Horseshoe League'. It was basically a Canadian league; Rochester was the lone American team, and it was just about the most competitive Junior hockey league in the world.
Even though I loved hockey and thought I might be playing in the NHL one day - the move wasn't really practical.
(perhaps I never really wanted it)
The move involved leaving my family, my friends and everything I knew to go live in Rochester.
I was very much a kid at the time, would have been incredibly homesick, would have left a great public school system and my parents were very much against it.
I don't regret not trying to play Junior Hockey but I do wonder-
I would have liked to have tried and TOTALLY FAILED rather than wondering, "What if?"
Since life has been more than good to me, I don't think about hockey too often.
Once in a while I'll dream about it though.
It's a reoccurring dream that always ends in the middle... :-)
"It's not what you do that kills you, it's what you don't do."
What the Hell Are You Going to Do Instead?
(Your PLAN B is nothing but a distraction)
When someone is not sure if they should go "all in" on whatever their goal/dream is, this is what I ask them to consider-
What the Hell Are You Going to Do Instead?
PLAN B, is not only uninspiring but - it isn't a plan at all.
"PLAN B" is simply -
- Not trying PLAN A.
- Sitting there thinking about PLAN A.
- Spending time half-assing something else that you are hardly excited about.
- Sitting there thinking about PLAN A.
Nice PLAN B.
Go get 'em tiger!
Rather than wasting time pretending that you have a suitable "PLAN B" - I encourage you pursue PLAN A and fall flat on your face.
Your future mental health will thank you.
Your Roaring 20's
This especially applies to guys that are in their 20's.
Your 20's are a decade where you have very few responsibilities and commitments.
You can run with PLAN A - TOTALLY FAIL - and be just fine.
(if you REALLY dedicate time to something you want - you will at least be moderately successful and reasonably happy.)
At the very least-
If you get GOOD at something, can teach it to others and figure out how to monetize it - you won't "fall behind" if you aren't working a traditional job.
That's what we did and I'll teach you how to do it.
I've never had a real job in my life.
I made over $100,000 in my first year as a part-time personal trainer and more than triple that in my second year of "blogging" (and other online businesses).
Not to brag - but that's far more than everyone I know that got jobs after they graduated college on time and everyone that I met in my 10 days of Law School.
(believe me - I felt A LOT of pressure to follow them, even if I was only half-committed and not as smart or talented as they were)
It can be done.
It's all because I was ALL IN on my PLAN A('s) in my 20's.
"Nothing in Moderation," that's how I got insider experience in all the subjects we discuss.
PLAN A was always the correct decision since -
- THERE WAS NO ACCEPTABLE PLAN B that would make me happy at the time or in the future.
- There were virtually no consequences if PLAN A failed, other than possible disappointment, which I decided I could live with.
Make sure you "Define Success" but even if you "fail", you'll never wonder "What if..." or if you made the right decision.
Beautiful Insecure Aspiring Actresses
"You will regret not trying more than you will regret failure..."
is never so obvious when I have a deep discussion with girls that are trying to do the "acting thing" in Los Angeles.
The vast majority of them, even the ones that moved cross-country to pursue their Hollywood dream, aren't ALL IN with PLAN A.
In fact, some of them talk themselves out of it on a daily basis - only to realize, yet again, that there is no PLAN B that they can get excited about.
What they haven't yet realized is that they WILL REGRET not pursuing PLAN A - FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES - even if they become modestly successful in whatever else they end up doing.
They will be watching E! in their late 20's and think-
What they also haven't realized is that TIME IS LIMITED.
DOING ANYTHING OTHER THAN PLAN A RIGHT NOW - PUTS THEM FURTHER AWAY FROM YOUR GOAL.
You Already Know Your PLAN A
If you are a part of the Good Looking Loser community - you should already know what your PLAN A is.
- You might not know how to pursue it.
- You might not know how to organize a long-term goal into several short-term goals.
- Your motivation might be shaky.
- You might battle or debate with the non-existent, no fun, "PLAN B"
... but you already know WHAT YOU WANT TO DO.
Your instincts are correct.
Be ALL IN.
Even if you fail miserably - you'll never regret it.