If you’re going to join the One Percent you are going to need to become immune to failure.
All successful entrepreneurs will tell you (if honest) that they’ve failed much more than they’ve succeed.
Michael Jordan will tell you the same thing: “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career”
Greatness comes at a great cost. You must be willing to fail epically to win epically.
Fear of failure is the greatest obstacle to your success, so you might as well become immune to it.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE FAIL
When you “fail” it triggers a cascade of chemicals in your body that bring bad feelings: shame, anger, even physical pain.
Your cheeks might get hot as you remember being shamed as a child in school, your peers may have bullied you, adults may have abused you.
These shame pathways are hardwired into our bodies & brains. 99% of us still carry some of this with us, no doubt.
But the problem is we will do almost anything to avoid repeating these feelings. Including staying mediocre until they put us in the box.
Fear will run your life if you let it. To become immune to failure, you must become immune to fear. Meaning: feel the fear, do it anyway.
Every man or woman of greatness must rise above these feelings. To use a symbol from popular culture, Bruce Wayne transcends the trauma of seeing his parents slain, and uses his own greatest fear to cause panic in his enemies.
What are you most deeply afraid of? Is it failure? Is it your power, your greatness?
How can you transcend that fear and turn it into a symbol that will vanquish your enemies?
TRANSCEND YOUR FEAR
To master your fear you must transform it in a healthy way.
At first you may have to trick your mind into letting you do the thing you fear.
Whether being pushed off the cliff into the diving pond, or being dragged into an interaction with a woman, it’s all the same.
I used to tell myself, “I’m not going to talk to those girls . . . I’m not going to talk to those girls” as I made my feet walk over to them.
Once you have done the terrifying thing and survived it, you have begun to lay a foundation of positive reference experience that can sustain you to keep exposing yourself until you’ve broken free of the fear-prison.
(In the example of women, 90% of the value of the ‘pick-up’ community is insofar as it encourages guys to expose themselves to fear, survive it, and gain positive reference experiences.)
It’s the same with public speaking, entrepreneurship, or anything else: repeated exposure and repeated failing is the only thing guaranteed to get you the reference experience you need.
Inevitably, if you stick with it, you’ll reach the point where you’re immune to the bad emotions that come with failure.
It’ll be like this:
I no longer care if I fail to approach a girl.
If I’m talking to her and she’s reacting well, great.
If she’s not reacting well, great.
A part of me is 100% present and engaged, but another part of me is watching this engaged part with equanimity.
Pain or gain, fame or shame, it’s all the same.
But there’s one more step before you get there.
How do you deal with the flood of self-punishment that comes when you fail to even make an attempt?
BEATING THE SELF-PUNISHMENT
In the example of approaching women, when learning I took about 1 opportunity of 10 I had to approach . . . and each time I failed to take an opportunity, I beat myself up mentally: “I’m a coward, I’ll never get better at this, I’m such as failure“.
This is counterproductive in the extreme. The attitude that worked was instead to become immune even to the bad emotions that come from missing an opportunity.
So, you fail to approach a girl, you are numb to it. There are no emotions. It’s just a binary event: did approach or didn’t. Didn’t. Ok. No emotions, no wasted time. Move on to the next opportunity. Did approach or didn’t. Etc.
Eventually this gets boring and you start seizing more and more opportunities.
People think that without self-punishment they’ll collapse into slobbering piles of worthless mediocrity but in fact the opposite is more true: if you are training a puppy and you beat him relentlessly each time he gets a command wrong, eventually he’ll become an aggressive neurotic.
(In fact this may explain a lot about the mental state of some of the guys you meet in the ‘pickup community’.)
Becoming immune to failure is essentially repeated exposure, and allowing your reference experience to turn down the volume on your emotions every time.
Eventually you transcend the fear, beat the self-punishment, and reach a Zen state where you accept whatever is happening 100%.
There’s nothing more to it than that.