“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.)