From Idea To Execution & The Art Of Failure

There is no certainty but change. Life does not promise you anything — so you can only take it by the balls and make the best of it!

But here’s the problem. People are afraid. They’re afraid of fear… they’re afraid of failure. If your society has a stigma to failure — you’re guaranteed to be a failure for the rest of your life. Sorry, that’s reality for you my friend.

You have a choice, to go with the flow, or to go against it like salmon heading upstream. And I love salmon!

I was scared as hell of failure. So scared that I became paralyzed. The day before my exams I would be cooking up a storm in my stomach. My dad who is a doctor noticed what was going on each time I went for an exam.

He suggested one thing… fail. He told me,

“You don’t know what it is like to fail. And the only way to cure yourself… is to fail. To accept that failure happens, and really experience it.”

WTH… here’s a father telling his son to fail. Surreal.

But that advice, changed my life from that day onwards… I was no longer afraid of my exams. I was unusually cool about exams — so cool, people got this feeling that I’d studied like hell and was so confident. (I don’t wish to correct them).

What people don’t know is that I spent a good amount of time failing. I got so used to it, that it became part of my culture. Try something, fail at it — figure out what went wrong and then move on. Try something new. And repeat the process.

When I first started my career… I had been thinking of various ideas. I even called my idea company — IdeaLabs. That was for a reason…

I can assure you this, in life you’re allowed to experiment. The world is your laboratory.

Make everything a test, and there will be no failure.

Keep testing and tweaking. Sooner or later, you’ll find that one thing that will revolutionize the way you look at life.

Along the way, I learnt a few things. One is ‘Speed of Implementation’ — once you get an idea, try to implement it as soon as possible. If you learn something new, implement it as soon as possible. The faster you put it into practice — the more you learn and absorb it. The better results you get.

We’ve become so allergic to massive action. It’s sickening.

You don’t need to practice the 10,000 hour rule as suggested by Anders Ericsson or Malcolm Gladwell. You just need 100 hours of deliberate practice to see if it works. You probably need another 900 hours to see if it can be scaled. Call this fail fast or fail forward. I just call this testing…

The fact is no one cares about your ideas until it becomes a reality. So that’s why you need to take massive action when you have an idea — be it good or bad. The results will speak for itself.

Don’t you feel bad, when you see someone who has just made “your” idea a reality? Don’t — take massive action.

Idea vs Execution (Massive Action): Which is More Important for Success?

Derek Sivers summed it up well with his idea-execution matrix. There are different levels of ideas and execution. The next time you come up with an idea, refer to this chart…

The most brilliant idea, with no execution, is worth $20.

The most brilliant idea takes great execution to be worth $20,000,000.

Remember, ideas are passive, execution is active. Execution tests the ideas, is challenging, requires hard work and at times financial support.

This is why when someone comes to me, particularly those who haven’t even started their business, to sign an NDA… I politely decline. Now you know why.

It’s time to experiment more. It’s time to think about more ideas. But whatever you do, remember it’s time to take massive action!

Or maybe it’s time to rethink failure… Barbara Corcoran certainly understands this.

Everyone has a plan, until they get hit in the face — Mike Tyson

But if you want to win the game, you have to be in the ring, taking those hits. You can’t win otherwise. So let me ask you this question… are you interested or committed. If you’re interested, you’ll do what’s convenient. If you’re committed, you’ll do what it takes.


Originally published at jpmartin.com.