I’ve noticed a tonne of guys read self-improvement websites like mine, buy books on achieving their goals, listen to podcasts and watch videos and do everything they can to soak up as much knowledge as possible. They study for ages, often getting caught up reading this stuff for weeks, months and sometimes years – never actually starting their goals. They’re essentially just procrastinating.
I’ve talked about diving in and taking action being far more beneficial than sitting around studying, reading and learning. Sure, knowledge helps – but at the start, you need to just dive right in and get started; you can study your books and sites and guides once you’re already taking action.
I think this procrastination/avoidance comes from a fear of failure. It’s a fear of rejection, a fear of fucking up, a fear of doing something “wrong”. It’s fear-avoidance. “If I just gather as much knowledge as I can first, then I’ll know all the pitfalls to avoid, and I won’t have to worry about looking foolish.”
It’s also a fear of straying from the herd; a fear of making a mistake and then being called out on it by everyone else/society at large. It’s a fear of sticking out like a sore thumb.
But you guys reading this have to remember, you’re not an average person. The fact you care about self-improvement and want to better yourself already means you’re part of a small, select group. You’re a high-achiever (even if you haven’t achieved your goals yet – you’ll get there). In order to hit those great heights you’re destined for, you’re going to fail many many many times – sometimes miserably.
It’ll suck. It’ll hurt. It’ll be embarassing, often humiliating, and sometimes you’ll want to run back home with your tail tucked between your legs and hide until the blankets. Girls will reject you and it’ll suck. You’ll fail lifts at the gym and it’ll suck. You’ll spend $300 on a bunch of new outfits only to have people tell you they don’t suit you, and it’ll suck. You’ll cheat on your diet and it’ll suck. You’ll fail a million times at your career and it’ll suck.
Failure is part of life. You can’t hide from it if you want to be a successful person. The average person spends his/her entire life running from failure, avoiding it, being terrified of it – and living a life of shitty complacency.
The mass of men live lives of quiet desperation.
And I get why the average person is happy being complacent – it’s easy. It’s secure. The path is already laid out for you; you just have to follow it. Find an average-looking woman, have average-looking kids, be average with your health and average with your career, die at an average age and have an average number of people attend your funeral. None of that is hard; it kinda just happens with absolutely zero effort.
In contrast, pushing yourself is fucking hard; it takes a hell of a lot of effort. We’ve set some crazy goals for ourselves here – stuff the average person could never even contemplate, let alone be arrogant (and ballsy) enough to actually attempt.
Sitting on your couch eating Doritos is infinitely easier than anything we talk about on here. Improving yourself opens you up to failure – you’re vulnerable. And vulnerability can be fucking scary. Being average means you never have to be vulnerable, or take a risk, or look like an idiot. You never have to fall.
But if you want an above-average life, then failures are inevitable. Failures are unavoidable if you want to reach your goals. You’re going to fuck up, no matter how hard you try. Especially if you embrace the idea that this is all just a big experiment, and you need to carve your own path. You’re essentially straying from the beaten path and forging your own destiny; you’re travelling into the unknown without a map to guide you. You’re going to fuck up, and that’s ok.
In all my years of mentoring guys, giving advice and coaching, I’ve put a hell of a lot of effort into trying to figure out exactly what the “secrets to success” are. And there’s only one that keeps coming up. Nothing else really seems to matter but this:
Just never fucking quit.
It’s not “don’t make mistakes”.
It’s not “avoid looking silly.”
It’s not “never fall from grace”.
The only thing you need to keep in your brain is: “As long as I never quit, I will eventually be successful.“
Failing is fine – you just need to pick yourself up and carry on. Embrace failure. Embrace rejection. Just don’t quit, and I promise you, no matter how many times you stumble, you’ll eventually reach your destination. And you’ll be a whole lot better for the journey – you’ll be a more battle-hardy, well-rounded man.
What doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.