Mark Danger Powers

drummer • educator • author

I’m Such a Failure

It’s true. I continually fail at far more attempted endeavors than I’ll ever succeed at.

Lost auditions, school rejection letters, unaccepted grant applications, uninterested publishers, girls who wouldn’t give their number, uncompleted projects, ideas that proved to be altogether worthless. I’ve seen it all- and that’s the short list. The long one just might be too much for you to read, and too humiliating for me to bear.

But failing so many times, and so often, is exactly the reason I choose to push onward, following every silly notion that arises and regularly juggling multiple undertakings. Doesn’t make any sense? Read on!

I’ve previously mentioned how ideas from one area of life or business can be repurposed to fit your life and circumstances. The case of failure is no different.

100-10-1

In the past, I’ve heard that advertisers and marketers have often figured that for every 100 people interested in their product, 10 will seek out more about it, and only 1 will actually make a purchase. In all honesty, those numbers are actually probably quite optimistic. But it’s the concept, rather than the hard and fast statistics, that’s important. Just as other information science rules (such as Pareto’s 80/20) are “cross-platform” and applicable to many parts of our lives, so too is 100-10-1 applicable to failure.

The way I see it, of every 100 zany ideas that pop into my head, I’ll most likely only set out to pursue 10 of them. Some of those won’t be followed through on. Some will turn out to be duds- stupid ideas that I eventually realize were a waste of my time. Some will go over like a lead balloon when presented to the world. Ultimately (and if I’m lucky), I’ll make it through to the finish line with 1, and it’ll be halfway decent. Score! Oh, sweet success!

That’s why I said above that “failing so many times, and so often, is exactly the reason I choose to push onward, following every silly notion that arises and regularly juggling multiple undertakings.” I realize that, in order to reach even a few goals and attain the handful of successes that I’d like, it’s necessary to start off on a whole pile of soon-to-be failed attempts.

As I’m writing this, I just happened to glance at tonight’s to-do list that I wrote this afternoon. Of the ten items listed, I see that only three are crossed off (this post being one of them). The other seven may, or may not, get done tonight, this week, or ever. But I guess that 3 out of 10 puts me a bit ahead of the curve!

I’m going to get crackin’ and will keep you posted on future fails. In the meantime, comment below about your own, and check out these posts on the topic by a few of my favorite bloggers!