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Mon, 3 Dec 2007

The fine line between failure and success

So...because I don't have a report to write this weekend I've had some time to ponder and reflect on stuff (and read my mail)- I thought I'd share some stuff that came to the fore of my mind again now when reading a newsletter.

Since the early days of playing competitive sport (in those days it was paintball) I've always been astounded as to the intensity of the emotions involved when you win and when you lose. Particularly how when you are on a losing streak (or your personal game just sucks) it's really tough to drag yourself out of that and come back kicking ass. I hate to lose...I really hate it...

That stuff started to make a lot more sense to me when I was older and started fighting - when people tell you fighting is 95% mental and 5% physical don't think they are being cute - it's spot on. My coach at the time worked a lot of mental game stuff and the improvements were very tangible. Taking a solid punch and not even blinking as you give a harder one back, even when you can barely see anything but stars, takes an almost iron will, and equally can destroy an opponent's resolve.

MH, Bradley, the Panda and I had a similar talk around this just on Thursday in the chill room, where the talk was about penalty taking in soccer, and to protect the innocent we won't go into anymore specific detail on this. Suffice to say that it's tough...very... :>

The same principles are of course applicable to life in general (in fact I've tried to apply that thinking to other areas of my life too and wouldn't have it any other way) and to business. MH blogged before his trip about a book he read called The Dip, by Seth Godin. I also read this book about a week or two ago, and it really does say a lot without saying a lot...things we think we should know...hmmm

Without going into too much detail, the book basically talks about how most people quit something at the most inopportune moment - when they are in a dip and success is just on the other side. Also, people tend to stick with stuff that is going nowhere out of fear to quit...and end up wasting their lives / effort / potential etc

I read this from Napolean Hill this morning:


Most failures could have been converted into successes if someone had held on another minute or made more effort.

When you have the potential for success within you, adversity and temporary defeat only help you prepare to reach great heights of success. Without adversity, you would never develop the qualities of reliability, loyalty, humility, and perseverance that are so essential to enduring success.

Many people have escaped the jaws of defeat and achieved great victories because they would not allow themselves to fail. When your escape routes are all closed, you will be surprised how quickly you will find the path to success.

-Napoleon Hill


I'm also reading a book at the moment on some of the greatest traders and how they had success. The one thing that sticks out the most in my mind is that those who were good were able to detach themselves emotionally from their wins, and particularly their losses.

Some of these guys were able to recover from being far in the red to becoming centi-millionaires. How? By taking the losses, understanding they will come by nature of the business, and pushing on through the worst of times, keeping their composure and not giving up.

What's interesting is if you look at our work, particularly some assessments, this same situation becomes true. I believe that what separates those who are good from those who are ok is how hard you push and where you give up when you are down. I saw it on a number of projects I had over the last year or so...when I was about ready to quit, way outside of my comfort zone, tired and sick, I pushed on and ultimately got some solid rapage at the end.

What makes us great at what we do in my opinion is the attitude, not the technical skill - skills are easy to pick up - the competiveness and will to fight for it is what makes a potentially good hax0r a great one. Most of us take our work personally (I know I do) and I'd rather be great and tired then average and comfortable.

To sum up my arb ramblings, I had some stuff in my life recently that I really don't want to go into, but that made me question a lot of things, and really messed with my attitude. Taking a step back, looking at the big picture, riding the wins and cutting the losses early, knowing where to push and where to quit, and pushing it where I was sick, tired or hurt got me through on the good side.

Maybe it works for someone....maybe it doesn't...but just putting it out there :>


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