I'm planning to do a week of blogging on the topic of success, as part of a lead up to the release of my book How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life.

And so I wondered if you'd like to cue me up with specific topics in the area of success/failure. Is there any accepted wisdom in that field that you'd like to see confirmed or destroyed?

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Oct 2, 2013
1) How to motivate yourself out of rut

2) How to decide when to bail from a dead-end job

3) How to decide what is a reasonable gamble vs. a stupid step off a cliff

4) How to access your talents to find your niche
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Oct 1, 2013
Some people say "It is better to light one candle, than to curse the darkness."

But, Scott, is that really true? or BOGUS?
Sep 30, 2013
The title of your book reminds me of a Churchill quote: “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

For me this says you need to have a sense of humor - and it's why I read your stuff.

Can humor be trained or do you just have to have the right personality/outlook for it?
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 30, 2013
As an Australian teenager in the 1950s, I was told by well-wishing adults that the key to success was learning "how to win friends and influence people". I studied Dale Carnegie's book, but its antiseptic sugary approach to life nauseated me. So I decided there and then that failure would surely be more fun, especially if it were accompanied by a healthy smattering of enemies, obstacles and challenges of all kinds. And I now celebrate my failure in retirement on an ancient vineyard in south-east France.
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 30, 2013
Dude's and Dudette's far and wide... Success is based on exactly two factors: Perseverance and Luck. It's a sliding scale.

If you think that you can become successful without doing anything or trying to do something, then you came out of vagina that was married to money.


If you work your balls off and try all you can and do all you can do and still not become successful, the only thing that will save your sanity is that luck just hasn't crossed your path yet.

Success is measured in many ways, big and small, and it's all on how you perceive it.

-You're Welcome.
Sep 29, 2013
This is a LOL-related video, but it hits on a larger topic that if you put your body into a power pose for a few minutes before you do something, you preform better.

Sep 29, 2013
I'd love to see you explore the role that "group think" plays in success and failure.

I'm interested in this on a number of levels. One is the idea that people tend to coalesce around leaders who have the right look, level of confidence and ability to outline a clear vision - even if that vision is wrong. What are the factors that lead up to "group think" taking over - and how do individuals and organizations either guard against it or use it for positive outcomes?

I'm also interested in the outsized role that high expectations based on relatively small differences in appearance, behavior and association with successful projects and individuals can have on success. When a group comes together and decides an individual is going to successful, mentors and opportunities appear that make success more likely.

Also - have you read the book, Your Brain at Work, by David Rock? If not, you need to. It covers a lot of the brain research that explains observable human behavior. This includes brain changes in response to status threats and the impact of control or lack of control on brain function. It also talks about the ideal brain state for making the kinds of mental connections necessary to come up with innovative solutions - and how environment and relationships impact our ability to maintain that brain state.
Sep 29, 2013
1. 80% of success is just showing up. I have seen this time and again. Do what you are expected to do, do what you say you will do, even do the routine things which are asked of you. So many of your competitors don’t show up, don’t return phone calls, don’t check the inventory, don’t ship on the date promised, etc. Showing up will not make you a top performer, but it will certainly separate you from all of the flotsam and jetsam which surround you and elevate you to the top 20%.

2. Don’t do anything stupid. There are huge opportunities to act and look stupid throughout your personal and business life. Try not to do so. So many others will step into do it and create the contrast for you. If you avoid doing stupid things, your chances of success will go up immensely.

3. God gave you two ears and one mouth. Use them in the same proportion. My dad told me and I told my sons: the person with whom you are interacting and perhaps trying to influence (girls/professors/customers/bosses) is more interested in themselves than they are in you. The more questions you ask, the more you listen, the more you try to understand their point of view… the smarter you appear and more successful you become.
Sep 29, 2013
That effective communications (and managers actually LISTENING) help a business to succeed.
Sep 28, 2013
Lots of people enjoy music but feel they are unable to make it. Only since the advent of recorded music has making music become seen as such a niche human activity. How do you eliminate that false construct in one fell swoop?

Also, more of your thoughts on affirmations.
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 28, 2013
Success is not well defined, and culturally dependent.

Were you successful at your stated objective?
Were you successful at someone else's objective?
Was your objective stated or even known?

Is it just all about the money? As a way of keeping score? What about personal fulfillment? What about helping others? Is your book designed for each of these things? Or just the first?

Einstein thought his cosmological constant was a failure. Dark matter/energy research has proven it to be a success. Many such journeys of discovery are possible. Which will you choose?

Sep 28, 2013
I've always followed the adage that if you have no clue what the next step should be, then stay put. It seems to have worked for so far, though I'm also aware of (often completely daft) anaologies that people to illustrate the opposite ("you can't steer a stationary oil tanker" etc.). Does that hold? And is true that the best decisions are always taken after at least one night's sleep?
Sep 28, 2013
Is it true that there is some optimum level of wealth whereby one attains a level of comfort and leisure without having all the baggage of "fame"? And if so, are any of us intelligent enough to know when we have reached that place, or does the process of becoming successful change us so that we forever move our own personal goalposts?
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Sep 28, 2013
When should you keep trying at something or give it up to avoid both quitting just before you succeed AND "throwing good money after bad"
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Sep 28, 2013
For starters, I would like you to destroy the definition of success and failure itself. That can be very eye-opening and not many people are ready to entertain such thoughts or reach the logical conclusion after that.
Sep 28, 2013
Please destroy the Global Warming myth.
Sep 27, 2013
Unoriginal old joke: Publisher can't understand why "The One-Minute Lover" isn't selling like the rest.
Sep 27, 2013
"Success is having to worry about every damn thing in the world, except money."
Johnny Cash
Sep 27, 2013
I think it's only a matter of time before someone compiles Dogbert's various tips, scrubs out the comedy and markets it as a success guide. Yesterday's obviously self-serving nonsense is today's brilliant personal strategy.

Eons ago I found the original book "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" while preparing to do the stage version in community theater. It featured tips on building your name through powerful-sounding but pointless memos, creating the illusion of working long hours, deploying buzz words, etc. Was surprised to see how material in that 60s parody volume mirrored what was being sold as serious advice in the 80s.

Stephen Potter's "Gamesmanship" and its wider-ranging sequels were all about psychological warfare in polite settings ("Do you play piano?" "Nothing you'd like, I'm afraid."). Potter embellished his whimsies with technical diagrams, a fictional society of "lifesmen" relentlessly one-upping each other, and an imaginary academy (rather tatty) where the art is taught. What's quaint in the books is now baldly practiced in real life. And in the case of politicians, television pundits analyze it precisely in terms of one-upsmanship tricks.

Also sent away for "How to Pick Up Girls." That relic of a simpler era posited that a lot of Girls went through life waiting to be correctly Picked Up, and all you had to do was approach enough females until you stumbled across them. It included such ideas as taking photos of strange women, and asking their names and addresses so you could send them prints. Later, a Miss Manners letter described a particularly off-putting encounter, which I recognized as one of the sure-fire charming gambits from the book. I think Miss Manners suggested involving the police. While that book reads as pure silliness now, a new generation of books, TV shows and courses wrap the same basic idea in dense pseudoscience that echoes Potter's work, albeit with serious intent. And the promise has devolved from getting a first date via calculated charm to Sex Now via irresistible mental manipulation.
+4 Rank Up Rank Down
Sep 27, 2013
1) Is it better to focus on your strengths and hire people to do things you're not good at, or work on improving those weaknesses?
2) How feasible is it to use hypnosis to program your mind for success (or deprogram any bugs already in there?)
3) How has hypnosis or your knowledge of it helped you professionally?
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