Blog 21.4

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Our next blog, A Tribe of Mentors, by Timothy Ferriss, details a period in Ferriss’s life when he was questioning himself and the direction he was headed. He discusses how a “fork in the path” led him to ask himself the most important question of “What would this look like if it were easy?”  This one question sparked the idea of creating a group of mentors to guide him.  He sent 11 duplicate questions to a wide variety of successful people with different backgrounds.  Many people didn’t respond to his request, but many did, and Ferriss compiled the answers into a 569 page book!

The third question Ferriss asked everyone was: 

How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for late success?  Do you have a “favorite failure” of yours?

Best-selling author, Neil Strauss, did not get accepted to journalism school and ended up as a reporter and columnist at the New York Times.  Strauss states the “the outcome is not the outcome” and may just be a fork in the road because we never really know whether that event was helping or hurting us.  Strauss uses the following metric to judge a situation:  “Did I do my best, given who I was and what I knew at that particular time?  And what can I learn from the outcome to make my best even better next time?”  We particularly like the grace Strauss gives himself that he needs to accept who he was at a particular time rather than shame himself for not knowing better. 

Professional tennis player, Maria Sharapova points out that in sports, losses are often seen as failures.  However, she feels losses can actually set you up to win because they make you think in ways that success can’t.  The questions you ask yourself after a loss can help you get the answers you need to ultimately turn those losses into victories.

Most people know Ashton Kutcher as a famous actor, but he is also a successful investor and entrepreneur.  When Kutcher was 18, he was charged with third-degree burglary.  Kutcher states that the shame of that event fueled him to take risks to make sure people didn’t think he was “that guy.”  Kutcher says, “the low of failure would never match the low of shame.”  Kutcher wouldn’t allow that mistake to define him.

All of these examples highlight the importance of using a growth mindset, which is the cornerstone of our curriculum.  Ferriss’ book is filled with examples of successful people who “failed,” but used that experience as an opportunity to learn and get better.  Had any of these people quit or backed down when adversity struck, they would not be where they are sharing their life lessons with all of us!


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