Thursday, October 23, 2014

My Ratio of Failure to Success is About 20:1

By James Altucher

On Friday everyone said YES to a $50 million deal. My consulting fee would've been huge. I dreamt about it.

On Monday I got the call: the deal is off. As these things go, all of the reasons presented to me made no sense. When deals go astray the answers NEVER make sense. Some guy was rambling and
I just kept saying "uh-huh". Then the call was over and I had to return to reality.

I was f&/?ing disappointed.

I went back into my breakfast meeting. I had no time to cry or feel bad or anything. I couldn't give any sign that I was miserable. I needed to have a good breakfast meeting. It was about making contacts for my podcast and meeting a new friend.

Not that I am so stoic. I felt like someone had just taken a s**t on me and then kicked me into the street during a rainstorm and then left me there.

Maybe some people have been kicked to the street like that and I admit I don't know exactly what that feels like but that's what I felt like.

Failure feels really bad. Don't let anyone tell you it doesn't. Don't let anyone tell you, "we only learn from failure".

I also learn when I kiss. Or when I am kind to someone. Or when someone is kind to me. I learn when I read. I learn when I sleep and the dreams reignite parts of my brain I thought were dead.

There are many other was to learn than feeling really bad.

I learn when I am honest to someone, and how good honesty makes me feel. I learn when I clean myself and feel like a new person.

My ratio of failure to success is about 20:1 in every area of my life: writing, business, friendships, relationships.

20 to 1. It used to be 100 to 1. I get better at things sometimes.

Most businesses I've started have failed. Most deals I try to do fail. My things I write I have to throw away. Many of my family don't speak to me for their own reasons, and friends sometimes appear for a brief moment in the time of my life and then disappear, never to be seen again.

I cry over each failure. I mourn every single one of them.

But then, as close as they were to me, as emotional as they were to me, they were the sun forcing my flower to bloom and then I wilted and died, I still have to say goodbye to them.

It's never a mistake to say good-bye to anyone.

Goodbye keeps us young. Dwelling on the past propels us into the future, into aging, into decrepitude and pain and bitterness and blame and complaining.

Yesterday I complained. "if this had happened..." or "if he had shown up..." or whatever. I complained. I drained. I blamed. I aged.


And then something happens. I kiss my wife. I breathe. I finish my breakfast meeting. I meet new people. Create more invisible threads between me and everyone else. We live inside an enormous spider web threaded by human contact

Blaming feels like a comfort. An escape. Complaining pretends to soothe. But it's just a siren calling from the sea to drown you. Everyday I stay on my no-complaints diet. Or I try.

I just need to say Good-bye. To stop the aging that the leathery finger of failure beckons to me from the shadows. Hooded, yellow eyes, fear, "come here, James. Stay with me for awhile. Stay with me for part of your life so neither of us are alone." The finger... barely out of the shadows. Come here.


The above originally appeared at Linked-In. Follow James @jaltucher  ·

1 comment:

  1. Great writer James is. I really needed this one today... I was just in a similar situation.