Whether you don’t achieve something or you don’t make that project work or it’s that goal that was not achieved and it’s just too late to make it happen. I find a good practice to meditate afterwards after the storm is gone.
To extract the knowledge out of it and archive the case for the good, deleting it from my memory, and keep my mind as clean as possible with the new lesson learnt.
If you face something big, start with the most complex and weirdest thing at all. When that is done, you can see a bigger part of the picture and the energy that liberates is reused to go forward.
In my personal baggage of historic failures, that is reopened and analyzed mentally each time I commit a new one, here are the most common turning points:
Being extremely fast means doing without leaving room to think too much. And unless you are a formula 1 pilot is almost always the weakest point in the chain.
Too fast means always too risky and when you are set in that mood you leave room to make mistakes in every second you gain. Thinking that the GPS autopilot is making the best choice for you because you are too concentrated in driving fast can be a good example of how sometimes we leave key decisions on the wrong place. When we find later that there was a shorter path is too late to arrive to the event. Another route planned with that extra 2 minutes that you are saving because of the rush could make you arrive to destination timely. And that leads to next critic point in the chain:
- Short sighted
We cannot connect all the points at the beginning when we are working on something. They will be eventually connected in the future, but at projecting times where abstract rules, you are just too close to see the whole picture.
So planning is essential and maybe starting with something that is a connecting piece, can help you to visualize the remaining as a whole, leading to visualize that points that are so hard to see at the beginning.
- The bad ordering
So if you face something big, start with the most complex and weirdest thing at all. When that is done, you can see a bigger part of the picture and the energy that liberates is reused to go forward.
Many times I started with the “decoration part” of a project, only to discover weeks later that was undoable, and I had a lot beautiful drawings plus hours of time that went directly to the oblivion. How much I would have saved if I started with the hard part, that we leave always to end, for fear of failure but also because it’s easier to start with the painting part. We are lazy by nature, especially developers, and that’s not a bad thing if it’s used wisely.
Usually starting with this essential piece is the harder starting point at all, but once it’s done you confirm two things, first that the thing is possible and that the rest can be connected to it letting you foresee the rest of the thing. It’s frequently a bad idea to start with the decoration only to discover later that the whole apartment needs to be painted.
This are the 3 points where most of my own bad histories fails. Of course then there are a plethora of more nifty details that I could imagine but 95% if I’m not being short-sighted fail in this parts. And failing in one of this means that you are close to abandon the ship if you don’t correct it timely.
I didn’t study any of this in the University: I just made too many mistakes :)
3 responses to “The lessons of Failure”
Well said Martin!
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