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Learn from your failure

All success hinges on how well you manage one person - yourself. But you won’t get as far as you could progress simply by trying to master the lessons of success.

Since the lessons of failure teach far more than those of success, you need to look hard at yourself (and your organisation) for evidence not of wonder-performance, but of under-performance. There are only seven principles you need to master.

  • Be merciless in learning the lessons of your failures.
  • Be meticulous in applying those lessons.
  • Compare your performance objectively with that of others.
  • Do all in your power to raise relative failures on those comparisons to relative success.
  • Lay down objective standards of performance for yourself - and raise them constantly.
  • Do all in your power to raise relative failure, also on those comparisons, to relative success.
  • Never succumb to negative pessimism: positive optimism is the only psychological antidote to failure and defeat.

Conduct this catechism at regular intervals and you will find it immensely helpful, with one proviso - you have to act to correct your faults and failures. Most people don’t act, even when they know their faults, and that’s the biggest fault of all.

Robert Heller