Scott Adams is the creator of the hugely popular Dilbert cartoon. At the beginning of his career, he found it virtually impossible to find a mentor setting him off on a lifetime journey of researching what it takes to succeed culminating in the writing of his highly popular book, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big Kind of the Story of My Life : Get It Here. Adams discovered some unlikely truths that helped to propel him forward. For instance: – Goals are for losers. Systems are for winners.
– “Passion” is bull. What you need is personal energy.
– A combination of mediocre skills can make you surprisingly valuable.
– You can manage your odds in a way that makes you look lucky to others. In the book Adams wrote the following:
“You could word-glue goals and systems together if you chose. All I’m suggesting is that thinking of goals and systems as different concepts has power. Goal-oriented people 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 did what they intended to do. The goals people are fighting the feeling of discouragement at every turn. The systems people are feeling good every time they apply their systems. That’s a big difference in terms of maintaining your personal energy in the right direction.
The systems-versus-goals model can be applied to most human endeavours. In the world of dieting, losing twenty pounds is a goal, but eating right is a system. In the exercise realm, running a marathon in under four hours is a goal, but exercising daily is a system. In business, making a million dollars is a goal, but being a serial entrepreneur is a system. For our purposes, let’s say a goal is a specific objective that you either achieve or don’t sometime in the future. A system is something you do on a regular basis that increases your odds of happiness in the long run. If you do something every day, it’s a system. If you’re waiting to achieve it someday in the future, it’s a goal.”
So how do you live your life, via setting possible goals or following systems, here’s what society says about winning big:
1. Back in the day, my goal was to run the Moscow Peace Marathon in ten months. My system was to get up at 5 a.m. every day and run as far as I could, something I had not done for 15 years.
2. You win the door prize if you can name which witch Alyssa Milano played in my all-time favourite TV series, Charmed: A Thousand Years.
3. One of a few comments on success by world leaders in this blog.
4. You are a struggling entrepreneur and sometimes it feels like you are pushing a 3-ton boulder up a steep hill. Costs keep mounting and you are considering giving up. Well before you do, check out these 10 setbacks that Walt Disney had, some were financial nightmares that put him millions of dollars in the red:
A. Walt formed his first animation company in Kansas City in 1921. He made a deal with a distribution company in New York, in which he would ship them his cartoons and get paid six months down the road. He was forced to dissolve his company and at one point could not pay his rent and was surviving by eating dog food.
B. Walt created a mildly successful cartoon character in 1926 called Oswald the Rabbit. When he tried to negotiate with his distributor, Universal Studios, for better rates for each cartoon, he was informed that Universal had obtained ownership of the Oswald character and they had hired Disney’s artists out from under him.
C. When Walt tried to get MGM studios to distribute Mickey Mouse in 1927 he was told that the idea would never work– a giant mouse on the screen would terrify women.
D. The Three Little Pigs was rejected by distributors in 1933 because it only had four characters, it was felt at that time that cartoons should have as many figures on the screen as possible. It later became very successful and played at one theatre so long that the poster outside featured the pigs with long white beards.
E. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was sneak previewed to college students in 1937 who left halfway during the film causing Disney great despair. It turned out the students had to leave early because of dorm curfew.
F. Pinocchio in 1940 became extra expensive because Walt shut down the production to make the puppet more sympathetic than the lying juvenile delinquent as presented in the original Carlo Collodi story. He also resurrected a minor character, an unnamed cricket who tried to tell Pinocchio the difference between right and wrong until the puppet killed him with the mallet. Excited by the development of Jiminy Cricket plus the revamped, misguided rather than rotten Pinocchio, Walt poured extra money into the film’s special effects and it ended up losing a million dollars in its first release.
G. For the premiere of Pinocchio Walt hired 11 midgets, dressed them up like the little puppet and put them on top of Radio City Music Hall in New York with a full day’s supply of food and wine. The idea was they would wave hello to the little children entering into the theatre. By the middle of the hot afternoon, there were 11 drunken naked midgets running around the top of the marquee, screaming obscenities at the crowd below. The most embarrassed people were the police who had to climb up ladders and take the little fellows off in pillowcases.
H. Walt never lived to see Fantasia become a success. 1940 audiences were put off by its lack of a story. Also, the final scene, The Night On Bald Mountain sequence with the devil damning the souls of the dead, was considered unfit for children.
I. In 1942, Walt was in attendance for the premiere of Bambi. In the dramatic scene where Bambi’s mother died, Bambi was shown wandering through the meadow shouting,” Mother! Where are you, Mother?” A teenage girl seated in the balcony shouted out, ” Here I am Bambi!” The audience broke into laughter except for the black-faced Walt who concluded correctly that war-time was not the best time to release a film about the love-life of a deer.
J. The sentimental Pollyanna in 1960 made Walt cry at the studio screening but failed at the box office. Walt concluded that the title was off-putting for young boys.
Walt was human, he suffered through many fits of anger and depression through his many trials. Yet he learned from each setback and continued to take even bigger risks which combined with the wisdom that experiencing failure can provide, leading to fabulous financial rewards: Let It Go.
5. With a nickname like Bum, NFL coach Oail Andrew Phillips could not but live by this credo.
6. A leaders job is to learn from each interaction, there better be smarter people to learn from in your vicinity: Most Girls.
7. Paul Allen and Bill Gates took some risks while founding Microsoft. One huge risk taken by Gates was that he dropped out of college to help create Microsoft, Gates could have stayed in college to learn more but instead, he took the risk to drop out and live his dream of creating Microsoft. Bill Gates also took the risk of starting his business on a vision, the vision of the personal computer being a useful tool on every office desk and in every home. When Gates was asked about these risks he said that he feels that he did not take a risk but instead he had a plan that if his business failed, he had enough money that it would not hurt him. As for dropping out of Harvard, he did not drop out, he took a formal leave of absence that left him tied to Harvard if things did not work out. He had a system in place if his goal did not work out.
8. Systems like lots of hard work in place equal luck, A Ho: Harder, Better, Faster.
9. Yes, that Donald Trump, our one, and only POTUS.
10. And from another side of the world and an earlier era, another world leader has her say: Rap Battle, Hilary vs. Donald.
11. I want a million dollars, I have a million dollars, are you willing?
12. John Davison Rockefeller Sr. was an American oil industry business magnate, industrialist, and philanthropist. He is widely considered the wealthiest American of all time, and the richest person in modern history: I’m Rich.
13. And this from the most respected world leader of all time.
14. And this is not the way to do it: That’s Life.
15. Marcus does not exist on Google, The more famous quote is by Vince Lombardi which begins the man at the top…
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard goes something like this: If you want success, figure out the price, then pay it. It sounds trivial and obvious, but if you unpack the idea it has extraordinary power. I know a lot of people who wish they were rich or famous or otherwise fabulous. They wish they had yachts and servants and castles and they wish they could travel the world in their own private jets. But these are mere wishes. Few of these wishful people have decided to have any of the things they wish for. It’s a key difference, for once you decide, you take action. Wishing starts in the mind and generally stays there. When you decide to be successful in a big way, it means you acknowledge the price and you’re willing to pay it.
I like today’s playlist, it has deep songs and silly songs, a bit of fun and thought. It begins with Christina Perri, then a Disney tune. Hailee Steinfeld from my collection of pop divas up next, then Daft Punk. The silly track is a Rap Battle between Donald and Hilary. We end with Ada and Frank Sinatra: What If Life Is Not A Gamble?
Show Love and Respect for All, Everyone Included until next we meet, my dear friends,