How to fail more for progress

mental health productivity Oct 25, 2023
How to fail more for progress

Did you know you actually make more progress when you fail? Contrary to popular belief, it's not a bad thing and is part of the learning process. Today, I'll be going over how to fail more for progress so you can accelerate your learning process.

By following these steps, you will:

  • Learn more, and more naturally
  • Become conditioned to accept failure as a learning opportunity
  • Make progress more sustainable and steady

The steps to failing more for progress

The process to follow is quite simple, and consists of the following steps:

  1. Define your gameplan
  2. Take action
  3. Analysis Afterward
  4. Find an improvement point
  5. Repeat the process

Let's get right to it so you can learn how to fail more efficiently.

Step 1: Define your gameplan

Think back to a time you did something without much preparation. Chances are it was quite chaotic. For things like spending time with friends, this is fine since that kind of chaos tends to be fun. However, for those moments where you want to improve, it's better that you avoid chaos so there are fewer variables to worry about.

If you don't know what your goal or objective is, you won't know how to get there. As much as you need to set a goal, you also need to come up with a way of achieving your goal.

It's okay if the idea you come up with isn't perfect. The most important part is to get up and running rather than getting it perfect.

You can expect to fail more at this point, but that's part of the learning process. By just getting moving, you build momentum that you can use to carry yourself to your goal.

You don't need to do it all on your own either. It's perfectly fine to have a mentor or seek guidance if it means you can make a more informed decision.

Too many people never take action, so they never go anywhere relative to their goals and aspirations. By taking up the mantle, gathering your courage, and coming up with some sort of game plan, you are taking the first step toward your goals.

Step 2: Take Action, fail more

If you're like most other young men these days, chances are you've played video games, sports, or both. If this is you, then you'll know exactly what it's like to do something, not get it right, and then keep going until you get it. This exact process is what you'll use for any goal you have.

Once you've gotten your game plan down, it's time to take action. It gets no simpler than knowing the steps you'll take and executing.

Despite this being the simplest step, it is often the hardest. If you have any trouble with any of the steps, it'll be this one.

Taking action is the most terrifying because it requires you to venture into the unknown. You have to do something that is unfamiliar and that's scary.

The big difference between doing something unknown in a video game and doing something in real life is that the video game has an immediate reward. We can use this to our advantage.

To make taking action easier, have a reward ready for yourself if you do take action. This approach will make it so failing more isn't so bad. This will also make it easier to procrastinate less, and I know procrastination is a big issue that halts progress.

When we have no reason to do something, we often withdraw from doing it. At that point, it's simply a waste of time. 

By taking action, you are moving yourself toward your goals little by little. Just remember to have a solid reason behind your goals.

Step 3: Analysis afterward

If there's one thing I remember from school it's that reviewing is useful for when the pressure is on. No matter how you spin it, when the pressure is on we fall back to our lowest level of preparation. It's one thing to have your game plan to guide you, but it's another to learn from the experiences that your game plan brought about.

This is where failure comes into play. The first two steps were all about getting you to take action so you could get some experience, and this step is about utilizing it.

Regardless of whether you succeed or fail, this step is important. However, it's even more important if you fail.

After taking action, you want to sit down and analyze what you did. You want to go over what you did right/well and congratulate yourself for that, while also going over what you did wrong and how you could improve at those.

This step requires you to be brutally honest with yourself. You must be able to admit to yourself that you have something to improve at.

If you can, then you will be able to make meaningful progress. You will be able to find the holes in your approach and be able to patch them up. Even if you end up failing more, you make more progress.

If you can't, then you will keep yourself deluded and unable to move forward at a pace that will sustain your motivation. This is a one-way trip to burnout.

Being capable of honestly analyzing what you did and how you can improve at it is a crucial step to maintaining progress. Without this steady progress, you will run out of fuel.

Step 4: Find that improvement point, then fail some more

There's a reason why trial and error is the most common scientific approach. To truly get accurate results, you are required to isolate a variable. If you do not properly do this, the results are skewed and inaccurate. The same can be said for the improvement points you find in your analysis.

After you've done your analysis, you need to determine one point to improve at and commit to improving at it until you've got it down. 

You will pick one point and only one. Picking any more than this is an easy way to burn yourself out. Also, there's no need to rush. As the old saying goes, haste makes waste.

Once you've written down all the things in your analysis you could improve, pick one to focus on. This will be your improvement point.

Then, you take action with that improvement point in mind until it's implemented. Once it's implemented, then you can move on to another improvement point you have. Basically, you repeat steps 1 - 3 for each improvement point you have until you get them down.

Repeat this process until you've gone through all your improvement points. By the end of this process, you'll have made significant progress toward your goal.

Rinse and repeat

Once you get these 4 steps down, all that's left to do is rinse and repeat for your next goal. By following this process, you will have an easy way to accomplish your goals in a way that's sustainable and feasible. You will fail more than you ever have before, but that's a surefire sign that you're on the track to improvement.

- Karl