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How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big

The Six Filters for Truth

When seeking truth, it is best to consider information from multiple sources. The following are six filters for evaluating the reliability of information:

  • Personal experience
  • Experience of people you know
  • Expert opinion
  • Scientific studies
  • Common sense
  • Pattern recognition

When evaluating information, look for confirmation on at least two of these dimensions.

“Failure always brings something valuable with it. I don’t let it leave until I extract that value.” – Scott Adams

Passion Is Overrated

  • It is difficult to determine whether successful people are passionate because of their success or successful because of their passion.
  • Passion seems more attainable. If you lack intelligence, there’s not much you can do about it, but passion is something we believe anyone can generate.
  • At times, passion is merely a byproduct of knowing you will excel at something.

Choose Systems Over Goals

  • If you achieve your goal, you may celebrate and feel terrific, but only until you realize that you just lost the thing that gave you purpose and direction. Goal-oriented people often exist in a state of continuous pre-success failure, at best, and permanent failure at worst if things never work out.
  • Systems people succeed every time they apply their systems, in the sense that they have done what they intended to do.

“Successful people don’t wish for success; they decide to pursue it. And to pursue it effectively, they need a system. Success always has a price, but the reality is that the price is negotiable. If you pick the right system, the price will be a lot nearer what you are willing to pay.” – Scott Adams

The Illusion of Selfishness

The most important form of selfishness involves spending time on your fitness, eating right, pursuing your career, and still spending quality time with your family and friends.

Selfishness is good, especially when you are starting your journey to success. You need to be selfish with your time and money. Being selfish is only bad when you become a burden on society.

The Energy Metric

Humans desire many things, but the only way to achieve them all is by organizing your priorities. To do this, focus on one main metric: energy.

To maximize your energy, follow these steps:

  • Eat a nutritious diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid unnecessary stress
  • Get sufficient sleep

When you prioritize your energy levels, you will wake up feeling excited and your work will improve in quality. You will also be able to complete your tasks more efficiently.

Optimizing vs. Simplifying

To maximize your energy, you can either be a simplifier or an optimizer:

  • A simplifier chooses the easiest path to a goal.
  • An optimizer looks for the best solution despite the increased complexity.


  • Think of your priorities as concentric circles, like an archery target. At the center is your highest priority: yourself.
  • The next ring—and your second-biggest priority—is economics. This includes your job, investments, and even your house. If you don’t get your personal financial engine working right, you place a burden on everyone from your family to the country.
  • Once you are both healthy and financially sound, it’s time for the third ring: family, friends, and romantic partners. Good health and sufficient money are necessary for a base level of happiness, but you need to be in good standing with your loved ones to truly enjoy life.
  • The next rings are your local community, your country, and the world, in that order. Don’t bother trying to fix the world until you get the inner circles of your priorities under control.

Managing Your Attitude

Your attitude affects everything you do in your quest for success and happiness. Having a positive attitude is an important tool. It’s crucial to get it right.

To manage your attitude, it’s important to understand that the brain can be programmed for success. Here are a few tips:

  • Increase the ratio of happy thoughts compared to negative thoughts. If your life doesn’t have much to offer in terms of happy thoughts, try daydreaming.
  • Smile often. Even if your smile is fake, it will make you feel better. Also, act confidently. If you act confidently, you will feel confident.

Knowing When to Quit

Quitting may seem to conflict with the advice you’ve heard all your life—that sticking with something, no matter the obstacles, is important to success.

It’s true that overcoming obstacles is normally an unavoidable part of the process. However, you also need to know when to quit. Persistence is useful, but there’s no point in being foolish about it.

Success Isn’t Magic

The formula for success is simple: every skill you acquire doubles your odds of success. The more concepts you learn, the easier it becomes to acquire new ones.

Here are some skills that every adult should develop a working knowledge of:

  • Public speaking
  • Psychology
  • Business writing
  • Accounting
  • Design
  • Overcoming shyness
  • Learning a second language
  • Playing golf
  • Proper grammar usage
  • Persuasion
  • Technology
  • Proper voice technique.

Patterns for Success

  • Fearlessness. A lack of fear of embarrassment is what allows one to be proactive. It’s what makes a person take on challenges that others write off as too risky.
  • Education (the right kind). Generally speaking, people who have the right kind of education are almost never at risk of unemployment.
  • Exercise. Good health is a baseline requirement for success. It’s about the extra energy and vitality that good health brings.


The only reasonable goal in life is to maximize your total lifetime experience of something called happiness. This may sound selfish, but it is not.

To achieve happiness, follow this formula:

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Exercise regularly
  • Get enough sleep
  • Imagine an incredible future, even if you don’t believe it can happen
  • Work toward a flexible schedule
  • Focus on activities that you can steadily improve at
  • Help others, but only after you have helped yourself
  • Reduce daily decisions by establishing routines

“Reading without action is like filling a menu with delicious food and never taking a bite.”

– Dr. Wayne Dyer.