How Many Times Should You Fail Until You Succeed At Accomplishing Your Life Goals?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by MICHAELSD, Jun 20, 2014.

  1. MICHAELSD macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #1
    I have made a vow to myself: I will work fervently, spending hundreds if not thousands of hours on each distinct business idea, until one pans out. No, I am not into get-rich-quick schemes nor am I attempting to give into delusions. What I want is a sustainable business for myself that can provide what I want out of life; part of that is the transformative business itself. Personally, I want to change industries. Simply put, I wouldn't be happy working for a company. I appreciate all the work that goes into running a major company like Apple or Google, but I have no desire to work under someone else. What I want is to create and inspire. This a personal post frankly that could get deeply personal but I won't go on for paragraphs as I could. My ambition is to build businesses.

    The pressing truth is that I have not actually put money behind business plans I have developed... yet. There is a better chance I will fail quite a bit at first. But how long can you fail until you give in? I feel like I could really take any sage advice in this thread to heart. A lot of thriving companies that changed our daily lives would not exist today if its founders succumbed to failure. Frankly, I just don't want thirty or forty (11-21 years from now, respectively) to creep up on me without my having accomplished my goals... I really have no idea what I would do if I do not achieve what I innately desire to with this one life we get.

    I feel like I am already a step ahead by deciding that I want to create my own business, wholeheartedly developing it for more than the purpose of revenue. To be blunt far too many people do not see all the potential prospects that exist in the world. There is so much we can change and create yet too few actually attempt to. (Even if I was working at i.e. Apple, I would still prefer running my own small technology/food business with prospects of changing some aspect of the world.)

    Should you attempt to realize your goals until the day you die or give in at some point if it does not work out and just make a fixed salary in a position ergo a life you do not want? Once you realize the potential in the world, it seems remedial to accept less than making your own personal contributions to it in my resolute opinion.
     
  2. Plutonius macrumors 603

    Plutonius

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  3. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #3
    What are your goals? Riches, material possessions? A fulfilling life helping others?
     
  4. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #4
    In a nutshell, just a few of my main goals related to this thread are:

    - Building influential, genuinely high-quality businesses that have a relative effect on an industry. I do have very specific industries and products in mind.

    - Yes, becoming wealthy is one of my goals for the main reason that we get one life so we should focus on working towards having the best of what we can through an arduous journey.

    - I do want to help others but in ways that improve lives through services and products.

    - I'd also like to create some sort of a legacy while I can, even if it's only a business that lasts for a couple hundred years after my passing.
     
  5. Felasco Guest

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    #5
    I've been self employed for over 30 years, and your post resonates strongly here. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I'll address two points.

    First, self employment is great for those of us incapable of doing anything else. :) Early in life I realized that if I were to join the corporate gulag, it would only be a matter of time until one day I just got up from my desk and walked out the front door, never to return, thus trashing my career.

    If you should come to that realization that simplifies the question greatly, as there is then only one option, and the only choice is make self employment work or die.

    But self employment can lead to an untidy story line.

    As example, a few months after getting my college degree I decided to become a house painter, wallpaper hanger. Yes, that's insane, but it's what was necessary at the time to be self employed, so I did what I had to do. And I had to do it for 15 long and sweaty years. And then....

    I bought my first Mac (1994). I learned some stuff. I launched a net startup. Sold it to a bigger company. Made more in one day than my entire remodeling career.

    That's the thing about self employment, there's always hope, always a chance that if you roll the dice often enough you'll hit pay dirt. And even if you don't, the fact that you might keeps things interesting.

    If you join the corporate gulag all you have to look forward to are incremental salary increases for the rest of your life. You know the ending of the story almost from the very beginning. Great for some people, a walking death for others.

    Second, the most difficult thing for me has been in knowing when to double down on a bet, and when to fold'em and admit a mistake. This is an especially troubling matter online where the business models are overturned every few years.

    You can be making 10 grand a month and everything's great, and then that entire niche collapses taking you down with it. On the other hand, it is this perpetual change that creates the great opportunity.

    Finally, if you want to have kids, think long and hard about self employment. Personally, I had to skip kids because I HAD to be self employed no matter what, but I'm not all that good at it really.

    And of course, find a mate who can handle uncertainty. I turned my wife on to self employment and she's had her own little business for 30 years too. While I haven't been able to give her tons of money, I was able to give her her freedom, and that feels pretty good.

    Good luck! I hope something in there will be useful to you.

    ----------

    Wealth is being to get up every day and do what you want to do. If you love your business, you can work until age 90 and still be "retired" the entire time.

    The happiest times in my life have been working 80 hours a week at a business I enjoyed more than being at the beach.
     
  6. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #6
    Help others by taking their money. :rolleyes:

    Just religiously donate to a sperm bank. ;)
     
  7. Shrink macrumors G3

    Shrink

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    #7
    Exactly 14.386 times.

    After that...bail...

    :rolleyes:
     
  8. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #8
    I'd worry less about creating an influential business that has a strong effect on an industry and getting one off the ground, i.e., first things first.

    To be honest, that's not really a legacy. Look at John Rockefeller his companies are still in existence today but how many people realize who he is - I don't think that's a legacy.

    Look at Mother Theresa, Jonas Salk, Ghandi. They have legacies that are not connected to a business - they are recognizable because they helped people and chose not to pursue riches and materialism.

    My point is not bash you for wanting to get rich, but rather point out that if you want to help people, or leave a lasting legacy. Becoming a millionaire may not be the best path for that goal.
     
  9. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #9
    Well, there is no way to release products for free :rolleyes:. Not how the market works. Not saying I wouldn't donate a product to third world countries etc.

    ----------

    Yes but to be fair, you do know who John Rockefeller is. Knowing his name is enough for me. That's still far above and beyond how much you know about other people from his generation

    Honestly, as wonderful as Ghandi etc. were you have a better chance of leaving a legacy with a business than by doing radical good. I'd prefer to create a unique charity personally. Bill Gates' billions give him an opportunity to make a genuine difference.

    ----------

    Hopefully I can narrow down this quote when I'm on my Mac; I appreciate your insight. I absolutely agree with you on how your history is pre-written with a corporate job. The highest you can go is the highest promotion the company offers whereas with self employment you have a chance of one day breaking out into new territory.

    I'd like to save enough to have financial security for that reason; don't live above your means seems to be the case with self employment but any job can lead to a layoff so there's a risk either way. Reward can be higher with self employment.

    Do you have any wisdom for succeeding specifically? It doesn't sound like you've had significant failures. Nonetheless we might have different views on self employment as I don't want to create services or products that others offer.


    Glad it's worked out for you! I'm sure convincing your wife took a while :cool:... People look at me as delusional even though I can provide countless examples of successes.
     
  10. Shrink macrumors G3

    Shrink

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    #10
    So the goal here is to be remember by others, pretty much irrespective of the reason why.

    It seems that the goal is a somewhat narcissistic desire to be known.

    I don't really mean that to be insulting...sorry if it came out that way but I couldn't find another way to express my inference that producing something of value, or making a contribution to humankind (e.g. Gandhi), was essentially irrelevant...all that mattered was personal recognition. Everything else was merely a means to an end.

    Sorry if I've got that wrong...:)
     
  11. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #11
    Honestly, I don't care if my name is known. Was just making the point that knowing Rockefeller's name is more than a good enough legacy.

    Would rather have businesses that outlive me. Have some great ideas that need funding.

    Heck, I've developed a mobile drop protection technology already I could see being a major boon for licensing but I'd need at least $50,000 for a proper production prototype.
     
  12. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #12


    Ted Bundy, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Richard Ramirez, Timothy McVeigh, Terry Nichols, Lee Harvey Oswald, Sirhan Sirhan, John Wilkes Booth, Gavrilo Princip, Osama Bin Laden

    Ok I'm tired of typing, but it seems you have plenty of role models if all you care about is being famous.
     
  13. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #13
    Oh, I don't care about being famous at all. Sorry to be misinterpreted. As I said in my previous post all I want are my businesses to outlive me.
     
  14. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #14
    They all left a legacy too. :)
     
  15. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #15
    But not with a business ;).
     
  16. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #16
    Hmmmm, I'll decline to send us hurtling into PRSI. ;)

    Good luck getting rich and 'helping' people.
     
  17. noisycats macrumors 6502a

    noisycats

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    #17
    You are far more generous than I.

    I think after two failures, you are a complete loser and should go live in a cave.

    Mike, the correct answer to your question is "2". Nevermind Shrink, he is a blind optimist.

    :D
     
  18. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #18
    Blatantly, the question cannot feasibly be answered with a number but with experience.

    If I was such an optimist, I wouldn't ask about failures specifically. Maybe a blind pessimist ;).

    ----------

    I really am passionate about owning a business; I'm not looking for an easy way to get rich. Improving people's lives doesn't necessarily fall under the same category as 'helping'.:rolleyes:
     
  19. noisycats macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    I'm not sure those words mean what you think they mean.
     
  20. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #20
    Sorry, I must have misunderstood you when you wrote,

    Although maybe I didn't...

     
  21. Felasco Guest

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    #21
    My wife is deeply involved with wildlife rehab. I pretty much live in a wildlife hospital. :) She gives the critters tender loving care, everything they could possibly need. They have it made, all their needs covered for free, the cushiest possible life.

    And yet, once she opens the window, out they immediately go in to the scary wild, where the next meal is always uncertain, and death can ruthlessly arrive at any moment. Self employment is good for people who wouldn't be able to stop themselves from flying out the window.

    Hmm, well, that's a pretty broad question. If you can narrow it a bit I'll give it a shot if I can.

    Truthfully, at heart I'm more of a "philosopher" than a true genetic businessman, so my guidance tends to be aimed at the bigger picture issues, like knowing who you really are, and what you really want, and why, etc. While I truly believe such things to be important, real business people are often not this reflective, which may be an asset to them.

    To the degree humanly possible, shift your focus from you and what you're going to get etc, to how you're going to serve somebody else. Profit then becomes something you need so you can keep on serving. If you serve enough people well enough, you'll likely be successful.

    Oh dear, then I misspoke. :) Sorry to report more failures than successes. I've worked my ass off for years at a time and lost money doing it. However, I've succeeded at being free for 30+ years, and that's the bottom line for me.

    Hmm.... Keep in mind that if nobody else is offering a particular product or service, the most likely reason is that nobody wants that product or service. Here's an example from my mistake log...

    I once coded a forum network system that allows users to easily create an unlimited number of forums in an unlimited number of domains on a single server. I was pretty proud of it because the service didn't seem to be available elsewhere.

    And the reason for that was that very few people can run one successful forum, let alone 1700 of them. :) While my system was unique and technically advanced, it was also market clueless. Huge flop.

    Indeed it did! :)

    Well, do you have any training or experience yet that would let you know if you'll even enjoy self employment? If not, you don't really know yet whether you're delusional or not.

    One approach might be to get (or keep) a regular job while you develop your own business on the side. This would give you the 80 hours a week experience, :) a good place to start your research.
     
  22. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #22
    Has whatever you typed that on improved your life? Did you pay money for it? This is more in line with what I'm trying to do.

    Helping people doesn't mean you give away hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of work away. I didn't say I'm devoting my life to charity. But I'm not looking to be greedy either. Charity that can change the world comes in retirement :) a la Bill Gates.

    ^ I'll reflect on Felasco's post and respond on my Mac later.
     
  23. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #23
    His goal was to make money and succeed at all costs. His questionable business tactics made him a very rich person. Afterwards he started to realize that hoarding billions of dollars wasn't giving him the satisfaction he thought he'd have so he started a foundation to basically give his fortune away.

    That's different then becoming successful so he can use that success to help others.

    I'm sure there are businessmen that have left great legacies, but bringing up Bill Gates as one is perhaps not the best example, due to his ruthless tactics to destroy the competition (just as Rockefeller did).

    So the question comes back, is your goal to help people or get rich? You can only have one master, its either helping others with your energy and power or seeking to get rich.

    Again, I'm not knocking your pursuit of wealth but I don't think you can justify that pursuit by saying its in the name of helping humanity. Be honest, because you want those luxury items that wealth can provide.
     
  24. MICHAELSD thread starter macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #24
    "I do want to help others but in ways that improve lives through services and products."

    Does your tablet/phone/TV improve your life? That's what I'm looking to do; not necessarily as significantly as those examples though. I.e. I'm not looking to create a business that has to ruthlessly step on other companies and rely on investing etc.

    No sane entrepreneur would price a product so there isn't a profit would they...? I'll undoubtedly reinvest into more businesses. These are businesses that will make some people's lives better. It'd be gratifying to hear that even if I'm not making a significant profit, or losing money.
     
  25. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #25
    I believe you are focussing on the end result too much. Your definition of being 'happy' and 'fulfilled' seem to hinge entirely on being 'successful'. Everyone is different, and everyone gets their crank turned in different ways. Personally, and with respect, I think you have it backwards.

    I think happiness and fulfillment come with the attempt and the journey. One of the Greek philosophers used as an archer shooting arrows at a target as an analogy. There was harmony and direction to life as long as you were shooting towards the target, whether or not you hit the bullseye - rather than shooting them in random directions.

    Yes... set some goals. But my suggestion is to scale them back a bit. Instead of incredibly rich, why not Financially Independent? You can live a really good life without huge $$s in the bank. Instead of a business legacy, why not make the world - even just your local community - a better place? Someone who has successfully created their own business - even if modest - is desperately needed by many non-profit Boards of Directors. Instead of leaving your name carved in granite on building facades, you can leave a legacy as scores of good friends who have helped you make your community better.

    Felascos experience is the one you should be looking at. Initially it doesn't matter what you do to employ yourself. You need to learn the very basic skills that of running your own business that are the foundation for any business. Customer skills, self-motivation, bookkeeping and invoicing, etc etc. All of these transfer over to whatever else you may do.

    To answer your first question... Exactly however many times it takes.

    I've been self-employed for just about 25 years now. I used it as an opportunity to work as little as necessary to achieve my goals. Which I have done. I don't own a 2nd home. I don't have a yacht, or a plane. I don't buy designer clothes, or jewellery.

    But I do own my own home in an expensive and unique community, debt free. I eat well, because I enjoy growing my own food and cooking it. I travel when I want... but I like my home so much I don't feel the need. I have as friends some of the most interesting people I could imagine knowing. Former ambassadors, captains of industry, accomplished academics and artists because I have time to develop those friendships.

    This may not be your vision of 'Success'... but I can't imagine being as happy doing anything else I am now. And my legacy has been, I hope, to open some doors of opportunity for other people that have made their lives better. Most won't even know who I am of course. But why should I care. The world is a better place, I hope, because of what I have given back to my community. That is all I need to leave behind.
     

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