Daily Lab: The key ingredient

Success needs more failure.

Daily Lab: The key ingredient

“All happy families resemble each other, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” — Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

If you want to improve your marketing, you might need more of the most important ingredient for success: Failure.

There’s a uniqueness to failure. When things go wrong, they tend to go wrong in a way that’s unique to our circumstances.

When things go right, however, we hardly notice at all.

Which makes failure, mistakes, and missed opportunities spectacular teachers, brimming with insights.

“If, when we fail,” Ayelet Fishbach wrote in Get it Done, “we fail in a unique way, each of us will have a unique contribution to make when we exchange information about our failures.”

In fact, Fishbach says, “People who read only negative film reviews were able to predict which movie would win the Oscar. People who read only positive reviews could not.”

The next time something goes wrong, imagine writing (or actually write) a short and critical review, like it’s a movie you had higher expectations for. Explore and explain the situation and what you can learn from it.

In many ways, that review will be more valuable to you than an initial, accidental success.

Because here’s the thing: Success is a state, not an ingredient. We barely even notice when it’s happening.

But failure is an ingredient, and not a state. It’s something we gain and learn from, not something we become.

“Put these two together—that failures are unique and information on failure, though rare, is elaborated—and you get a recipe for success,” Fishbach concludes.

“Namely, learning from failure.”

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