In our culture, there is far too much emphasis placed on the virtue of failure. Sure, failure can be valuable if you can ascertain the exact reason for failure and learn from it, but the truth is that we don’t always know why we fail and there are often many causes for failure. Sometimes it is impossible to determine exactly all the reasons why we failed. If you believe you failed because of X, but in reality, you have failed because of X, Y and Z, you will not have truly learned anything and the failure will be a tragedy. That’s what I believe every failure really is–a minor tragedy that should be avoided if possible. Furthermore, I think the biggest cause of failure is not doing the very best we can at the tasks we are charged with. In other words, not performing your very best at whatever job you have is the biggest cause of failure, disappointment and unhappiness.
Many claim they have lousy jobs that don’t deserve their highest level of effort. So what? If you have a lousy job, do the very best you can at it. That is your fastest way to get out of the job and into a better position. The disease that pervades every single business is the mindset that “What I do doesn’t really matter, so I’m not going to try.” This type of thinking leads to an unhappy workplace because it is so contagious. I have been guilty of it myself. It leads to a destruction of the culture and a slowdown of progress in the business as well as a slowdown in personal growth of the employees of the business. Of course what you do matters! Otherwise, there would be no reason for your job to exist. If you are unhappy with what the job has become, try doing even better at it and see what happens to your level of happiness. I strongly believe that mastery leads to happiness. If you do something well, anything at all, your level of pride and confidence will increase and will result in being happier than if you were to do poorly or not try at all. We all have an innate desire to do well at something in life.
Of course this all seems basic, but the basics are worth repeating. The number one reason to do well is because it leads to happiness. If you do well in a sport, on a test or at work, you’ll likely be much happier than if you do poorly. This happiness, just like sadness or negativity, is also contagious. Energy flows to whatever you focus on, and those around you will emulate your mental attitude and how you carry yourself. This is another, and perhaps the most important, reason to do well–it will lead to a happier workplace. Winning (doing well) is important. People want to be a part of a winning team. The best players in the world want to be around other great players. Winners are attracted to success. Failures are attracted to more failure, because they don’t have to try as hard. They are off the hook from responsibility. Failure is the easy road and it becomes addictive. In fact, both success and failure is addictive, but it’s better to be addicted to success so that you are trying constantly to do well and grow.
There is a term, “feed the beast.” It means, essentially, that you should focus on what you are exceptional at doing so your level of happiness and confidence is high, while you work on correcting areas where you are lacking. Whenever you are feeling down, “feed the beast.” Remember what you’re good at to get the confidence and vitality you need to succeed back into your life. A simple shift of focus–to working hard instead of taking it easy, to things that you are great at instead of what you are lousy at, to what makes you feel incredible instead of what makes you sad–will lead to incredible results. Winning (which is doing the very best you can) is important. The first step to winning is action. Taking action by doing the very best you can will not only lead to eventual success, it will create happiness in yourself and the workplace. Do well, and those around you will also start to do well. Hard work is infectious, as long as it is part of the expectation and the culture of the workplace. So, find a place where people like to work hard and then begin to do the very best to master the job. Mastery leads to happiness and fulfillment.