The 1/10 Rule Of Everything
Maybe 1/10 things you try will succeed. Maybe. With a bit of luck.
People wonder, why the stuff they do keeps failing. They wonder, what is wrong with them. They think, that they suck. They consider themselves as a failure. Because they just don’t seem to get it right.
I say: that’s insanity.
If you get things right one out of ten times, then that’s a pretty awesome success rate.
If you write ten books, and one of them is a success, then you did a great job. If you were in ten relationships throughout your life and now you are in a stable one, then you are further ahead than most people. If you build ten businesses, and one of them is a success, then you are more successful than most people.
James Altucher says that he built 20 businesses, and 17 of them failed. And he’s definitely not the only one.
The same holds true for most entrepreneurs.
Artists. Creatives. Athletes.
Nobody ever makes it at the first shot. Everybody has to learn through trial and error what works and what doesn’t. We all have to accumulate experience first, and allow our work to evolve over time.
You are NEVER a failure.
You might fail at something. You might fail at a lot of things. You might even fail at almost everything you do.
But that never makes you a failure.
The moment you label yourself as a failure, you’ve already lost the game. You’ve made it impossible for yourself to ever achieve anything. You’ve made it impossible for yourself to keep pushing forward.
Because you are telling yourself a story. The story says, that you are a failure and that you are incapable of ever achieving anything.
Please don’t do that.
Please don’t stop yourself from making progress in life.
All great work needs time to evolve. People can’t just start doing something, and then immediately be great at it. After all, they are competing with others who have been in the industry for five years. Ten Years. Thirty Years.
That’s who you are competing with.
The greats of your industry.
Why should people buy your product, if they can buy it from your competitor, who has a reputation for doing great work since 20 years? Why should people buy your book, if there is 20 people who are writing about a similar subject, and who have been well regarded since 20 years?
Your work needs time to distinguish itself from all the others. Your work needs to evolve, in order to become truly unique and worthwhile
You’ve only failed, once you quit.
There’s only one time, when you have truly failed. And that’s the moment, at which you decide to quit. It’s the moment, at which you decide to forget about your journey, and become content with what you have.
It’s the moment, at which you stop moving forward.
The moment, at which you give up on your vision.
I know that things can be incredibly hard. For most of my adult life, I have been financially broke. My work didn’t get the attention of anybody. I’ve had no reason to think, that I would get out of this mud anytime soon.
But that’s just what what the journey looks like for anybody, who wants to achieve anything meaningful. Everything that truly matters, comes into being after a long period of hardship, sacrifice and struggle.
Because we need to DESERVE the right to be successful. We need to have the mental toughness to push through all of the problems. We need to be doing, what few others are willing to do.
That’s what the person, who wants to achieve their dreams, needs to go through.
Essentially, it’s a choice between comfort and your dreams. You can either lead a comfortable life, without passion and fulfilment. Or, you can keep striving towards your dreams, but accept all the different kinds of struggle, this inevitably involves.
Once you’ve quit the struggle and chosen comfort. That’s the moment, when you will no longer have any shot at achieving your dreams.
Keep pushing forward.
It doesn’t matter how many times you have already tried something and failed at it. It’s always worth to keep pushing forward. Because if you truly have a vision of something that is important to you, then you are going to find a way of making it happen.
Somehow. Someday. Somewhere.
All you can do, is to keep trying. That’s all anyone can do, really. Nobody has got it all figured out. Nobody who wants to create unique work, really knows what they are doing.
We are all just experimenters. It is by failing our way forward, that we learn how to slowly get things right.
It is a painfully slow process.
And more often than not, we won’t see any visible progress at all. For a long time, we won’t really have any idea, whether or not our work is moving in the right direction. We won’t really have any real, tangible forms of feedback.
All we are really learning at this point, is what doesn’t work. Until eventually, we stumble upon the one thing that does work. At that point, our success will almost see like an accident.
It will seem as if we discovered some secret formula.
But we really haven’t.
We have just kept discovering things that don’t work. Until our brain slowly started putting the pattern together and figured out what does work.
If one out of ten of the things you are doing, are a success, then you are doing an amazing job. It is simply not realistic to expect a higher success rate than that.
If you succeed even less than that, then that’s okay, too.
Just keep pushing forward. As you are discovering what works and what doesn’t work, your success rate is slowly going to increase. It will take a long time, but you will get there eventually.
There’s just one thing you should never do:
Quitting is the only true form of failure. Why? Because as long as you don’t quit, you have a chance of winning the game.
You won’t know when it will happen.
But one day, you are going to win.
Tim Rettig is the author of “Struggling Forward: Embrace the struggle. Achieve your dreams”. It’s a book about the psychological journey of struggle, which every (creative) entrepreneur must pass through, before they can turn their vision into reality.