Why are you still afraid of failing?

Why are you still afraid of failing?

November 14, 2012 9:02 am

tl;dr
Check the image below

It is way easier to see the whole picture now-a-days than it was a few decades ago. At that time you just heard the success story and maybe how much effort was put into building that business if you were lucky. If you wanted to know more, you had to wait for the (auto)biography of founders.

But now you have to intentionally turn a blind eye to all this data and backstage stories about what it takes to succeed.

The formula to success is quite simple:

  1. Find a problem people have
  2. Work hard to solve that problem (usually to save someone’s money/time)
  3. Work hard to promote your revolutionary solution/product/service
  4. FAIL and go back to step one – or – Succeed

There are factors we as individuals usually can’t influence, like luck, global economy, etc.

But there is one feature that can be the tipping point in a successful business: experience.

How do you gain experience? By failing of course.

Theory is a good start, but you can read all the books in the world, you can follow every new thread on Hacker News (link to this article’s discussion); if you won’t try something, you will never know if that’ll work or not. And only when you try, you see the problems and the holes in the big plan.

Tom Kelley's quote "Fail often so you can succeed sooner"

I know everybody has excuses. We are brilliant at making them. I know some of you have really good excuses (young family, two jobs, a hard life…) and that it is difficult to add another big time-consumer in the equation. But everybody else has the time to fail. And then fail some more and at some point win.

I once asked a painter how long does he need to make a painting. He said 20 years and 2 hours. How long do you thing did it take him to make the first painting? I didn’t ask, but still; One day? One week? Through time he learned the art, he got used to his brush, canvas and paints. He is using his 20 years of experience to make a really decent painting in 2 hours.

Let’s make an experiment.

Find a time tracking app and check how much time do you throw away surfing the web for no reason, how long are you on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Hacker News…

And now cut that time in half and use one half for a project. Find something you always wanted to try to build but was too afraid because of the sheer amount of work. Split it into tasks that can be done in 30 minutes. These tasks will look much less frightening and better yet, you will not have to wait a decade for the results, only half an hour.

Let’s say that the time for the project is only 30 minutes per day. I would be willing to bet, that it is much higher, but let’s start small. Half an hour is little to no time. But 30 minutes each day, that’s 210 minutes per week, that’s 14 hours per month or 28 tasks.

It’s not a lot, but that could be 14 short blog posts, alpha version of a mobile app, a new page about your favorite hobby, or first earned dollar in internet marketing.

If you have little or no prior experience, you will most likely fail. But that is OK, I did it to and I still fail a lot. But the percent of failing is getting smaller and I can see the first results of my hard work. And you should too!

* Photo from StartupQuote.com

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