Fail 10x A Day

IMG 10451 768x1024 Fail 10x A Day

“To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.”

-Henry David Thoreau

December was filled with self-contemplation for me  in preparation for the new year.  One of my intentions for 2014 is to read more–for work and pleasure.  Specifically, I’m reading at least 2 books a month, and, attempting to start processing what I read more effectively so that I can better incorporate it into my life–either through note-taking, discussing with friends, or journaling.

I was reading about one particular entreprenuer this week who sets a goal for himself to get rejected at least 10 times a day.  He says, “If I don’t fail 10x a day, my wife sends me back out for some more.”

This concept was both bizarre and revolutionary to me.  For the last few months, I’ve been wrestling with the notion of failure and the amount of leg room it occupies in my psyche.  There was this intriguing statement by Barbara Cocoran relating to failure and her best piece of advice for entrepreneurs at Martha Stewart’s American Made event, and lately, I’ve found myself injecting the famous Albert Einstein quote, “You never fail until you stop trying,” into random conversations.

But the idea of trying to fail every day is new and also invigorating to me.  In my small businesses as a real estate lawyer and broker, and even as a blogger, I perform every role, from recruiting business and advertising, to actually doing the work, following-up, and collecting payment.  This process necessarily includes vast numbers of “failures” on a monthly basis and, toward the end of last year, I began noticing myself proscratinating calls I was scheduled to make, delaying following-up with contacts, or shuffling off important work just to avoid any interaction I couldn’t characterize as an immediate success.

Of course, the goal is still success.  But I’m finding that the most direct route to success is through failure.  I accumulate more evidence daily, from my own personal experience and external data, that it serves me better to fail often and fast.  This notion has allowed me to reframe and restructure what I do and get done each day–with a lightness and ease that wasn’t there before.

Here’s to celebrating your failures!


(The above-photo is from December 2013 taken in the ER after Judah’s fell in our bathroom while exiting the shower.  He got 5 stitches that day, but never mentioned his head or the “boo-boo” again once we left the hospital.)

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January 8, 2014 - 2:04 pm

Veronica - Judah is a little trooper. Poor baby! Embracing failure is hard to do because we look at failure as the reason to stop trying sometimes, when in fact it should be the fuel that keeps us moving forward. 2 books a month would be really ambitious for me, but I do plan to read more

January 8, 2014 - 2:32 pm

Tina Ashburn - I was delivering flowers to a beautiful church in Phoenix last Sunday. This particular church had 3 doors into the sanctuary. I tried 2 and gave up, not realizing there was a third door. I went walking around the grounds and found the pastor, who very easily walked me to the third door and opened it for me! Boy, did I feel silly! But do you know what he said? He said the open door is always the last one you try.

January 8, 2014 - 2:38 pm

Kungphoo - Embracing failure is very difficult, but i feel that it only makes you stronger in the long run. I have failed plenty of times, only to come back a better person.

January 8, 2014 - 4:18 pm

norma.doiron - “…finding that the most direct route to success is through failure.” Accepting failure, learning from it and decide to move forward I believe is the right attitude to succeed at anything! Great advice Jessica!

January 8, 2014 - 5:37 pm

Mindy Morris - Very interesting topic. I especially liked Tina A.’s story and what the pastor told her! Thank you for a thought provoking entry!

January 8, 2014 - 6:20 pm

Alexandra McAllister - Yes, embracing failure is a challenge yet it does make one stronger in the long run. There is a lesson in all that happens in life…good or bad. Thank you so much for sharing,Jessica.

January 8, 2014 - 6:50 pm

Vidya @ Whats Ur Home Story - That is a new thought to me too. I too procrastinate on so many things for God alone knows what reason. What Barbara said the other day is so true. When you stop trying that’s when you truly fail. Hope Judah is feeling better now. He’s brave.

January 8, 2014 - 6:56 pm

Roslyn - Very stimulating topic. I make many mistakes. I forget things, misplace things. I laugh and say”Must be another Sr. moment (after all, I’m 74). Years ago I punished myself for making a mistake. Now, I can correct it, figure it out, ask for help and move on. I probably do have these ‘failures’ 10x a day and I am getting smarter as a result of them. There is so much I don’t know how to do on the web and yet, I look at what I’ve learned these past few years and am so pleased with myself. “Failure’ does not exist for me.

January 8, 2014 - 9:43 pm

Veronica - Is your reading more for work or pleasure?

January 8, 2014 - 9:44 pm

Anonymous - Failure sometimes teaches us the most important life lessons:) how awesome you picked up all if that reading in the new year. I need to do that myself!

January 8, 2014 - 9:54 pm

John Cutler - It’s a very true guideline to live by. We used this rule in our sales department to make sure we keep selling everyday. great article.

January 8, 2014 - 10:54 pm

Stephanie Clopton - I’m curious as well as to what you’re wanting to read for? It sounds like you have a successful career as a lawyer.

January 8, 2014 - 10:55 pm

Jim Striegel - Very interesting blog post you’ve written, but my favorite part is:

Einstein quote, “You never fail until you stop trying,”

January 8, 2014 - 10:56 pm

Marjory Johnson - I just saw a post about how as people get older, they read less and less which is very unfortunate. It sounds like your goal of 2 books a month is a good start. Great post!

January 8, 2014 - 11:07 pm

Meli Horowitz - Reminds me of the book “Go for No”. Interesting concept. I like Jim Striegel’s Einstein quote, “You never fail until you stop trying,”

January 8, 2014 - 11:32 pm

Connie, Social Media Buzzmeister - I’ve always liked this quote from Thomas Edison:
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Now that’s perseverance!

January 9, 2014 - 1:30 am

Yvonne Brown - As a mother and an author, I have to get very creative with how I get my reading and writing in with a 2 and 3 year old.

Glad to year the young man is doing well!
Yvonne B.

January 9, 2014 - 2:14 am

Deborah - I’ve heard of this many times. I don’t intentionally go out to fail but I keep it in mind when I don’t want to do something that I think I might not be successful at. It actually works. The more I put myself out there, the more no’s I get. And, then I get more yes’s.

January 9, 2014 - 2:22 am

Simona - I have a stack of books waiting for me to read them. I end up reading on my iPad until I fall asleep. I hope I can finally get myself to open any on the books. Failure is not an option in this case…

January 9, 2014 - 2:42 am

Diana Foree - 2013 was not a good year, felt like I failed in my business but I’ve made myself look at all the positive things too. Instead of wallowing in the failures at the beginning of 2014, I’m working on better planning and good choices. Thanks for sharing

January 9, 2014 - 7:40 am

Sharon O'Day - As I said in a FB post this evening: “How do you know when you’re self confident? When bad decisions make good stories …” After all, if you’re not stretching yourself enough, it’s hard to grow. And some of that stretching leads to failure. 😉

January 9, 2014 - 10:32 am

Badley Finnearty - I saw the same quote about failure. It is so true though, you have to fail to succeed for more than one reason.

January 9, 2014 - 11:16 am

Lorii Abela - Interesting post! Failure is part of success. What do you think your greatest failure in life is?

January 9, 2014 - 2:14 pm

Dov Shapira - Wow to you.
What a beautiful expression and insight of failure and success.
You made me feel so good reading this.

January 9, 2014 - 6:41 pm

Vicki Bezio - I feel like every failure leads me down a path that I would have never thought was possible!

January 9, 2014 - 10:57 pm

Jennifer Clay - I hope he heals fast! I need to start reading more. I have a few books on my shelf that I haven’t touched. I need to.

January 10, 2014 - 2:25 am

Yvonne Brown - Your son is adorable! Poor guy! 5 stitches? Ouch! Kids are a blessing!

January 10, 2014 - 3:20 am

Anonymous - “that the most direct route to success is through failure” my painting technique stem from this very fact!

January 10, 2014 - 10:41 am

jo Casey - I have a favorite phrase – There’s no failure, only feedback.
It helps me to remember the importance of taking the lesson from everything and takes the heat out of ‘failing’

January 12, 2014 - 3:26 pm

Gilly - Your little guy is a cutie! Thank you for such great info and a different way at looking at success!

January 17, 2014 - 2:53 am

Pat Moon - Your little guy is so…. cute! He must be quite a trooper!
Your article makes so much sense. Life is certainly full of failures and we often take them for just that allowing them to slow us down. When we look at failures as part of our daily activities & challenges, they can actually be motivating. Great insight. Thanks for sharing.

January 17, 2014 - 2:55 am

Jessica - Thanks as always for your comment, Pat! Appreciate your feedback and insight. xx

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