To Succeed, Allow Room for Failure

James Bond, the quintessential icon of awesomeness routinely blows everyone’s mind by easily completing feats of extraordinary complexity while in the face of overwhelming danger all without disturbing a single hair on his head. I was recently binge watching some Bond movies and came across one of my favorite scenes. (Now please be aware, it’s not a favorite because it’s action-packed or because it features ridiculously cool cars or whatever. It’s a favorite because it's silly.)

It is found in From Russia With Love, the scene in the train car where Bond, the girl, and the bad guy are eating dinner in the dining car. The bad guy (Bond doesn’t know he’s a bad guy yet, he thinks he is another agent.) orders white fish with red wine for dinner. Only a bad guy would do something like that! You’re supposed to have a white wine with fish. I have no idea if that's accurate or anything, it’s just that Bond later comments on the fact that he should have known that the bad guy was bad when he ordered the wrong wine. By the time James recognized his mistake it was too late. He was staring down the barrel of a gun.

Fortunately for all of us, Bond was able to turn the tables and recover from his mistake, save the girl, save the world, dodge a helicopter dropping grenades and perform all manner of perfectly realistic awesomeness. Phew! Just think, if he hadn’t been able to recover, we wouldn’t even know who Pierce Brosnan is! Can you imagine a world without Pierce Brosnan? Yeah, I guess I can too…

Anyway, there are a couple lessons to be learned from Sean Connery as James Bond in this scenario. The most important lesson is to allow room for failure.

Allow Room for Failure

Obviously, no one wants to fail, especially if it’s going to result in the bad guy winning and the world blowing up because an old guy with a white cat (movie reference ICYMI) is in a bad mood. The reality is that we are going to fail eventually. Some might even fail more than they succeed, and that’s okay if you fail properly. I mean, if you make millions of dollars or change the world with your single success out of thousands of attempts, it's worth it, right? Allowing room for failure isn’t an excuse to fail, it’s a process for overcoming failure before you get there. How can we do that? Well, let’s take another look at two ways our good friend Mr. Bond did it.

Have the Right Mindset

The most important preparation for failure is preparing your mind. James Bond trains himself physically and mentally. He never gives up, never doubts himself, and never stops pressing forward. Want to be successful (at anything)? Do the same. Train yourself. Seek out mentors, trainers, and resources that can make you more efficient and effective at your craft. Learn to think outside of your discipline for ways to improve. Examine successes in other areas to find what makes them work, and then find ways to implement these successful traits into your daily processes.

In addition, train your mind. Root out negativity, believe in yourself wholeheartedly, and never give up. If you fail, immediately start over. Overcome the mentality that tells you that your accomplishments have to be flawless or they “aren’t real accomplishments.” Embrace imperfection in the process, better yet, plan for it! That way when something comes along that changes the course you need to take, you are prepared to adapt and continue making progress.

Have the Right Tools

James was in a sticky situation. Gun in his face, bad guy with his finger on the trigger and a purely evil grin on his face. Fortunately, James had a secret weapon the bad guy didn’t know about, a suitcase with tear gas in the handle! Worked like a charm. There’s nothing like a little tear gas to turn the tables in my experience…

Having the right tools for our pursuits is vital. The types of tools can vary depending on your endeavor, but it is important that you do some research and find what is working (and not working) for those that are successful. Are you a writer? Absorb information, ideas, and suggestions from guys like Jeff Goins, Jon Acuff, and countless others. Working to build a startup? Listen to guys like Gary Vee. Find the successful and learn from them, imitate them, and incorporate their tools into your box of tricks as you continue down the path toward your goals.

It might seem simple, but taking the time to implement these important tips in your life will make a huge difference. However, don’t expect to change your mindset overnight, that’s a lifetime pursuit. If you decide you’re going to do it and start implementing changes, you will see results much more quickly than you’d imagine. It just takes consistent effort. I know you can do it! 

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