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How to Succeed by Becoming an Expert at Trying
The Rise of Science
The Greek philosopher Aristotle was obsessed by the idea of amassing all the knowledge that existed in the world. Of course, this lofty goal undoubtedly proved to be futile, but thousands of years ago, you could get pretty close with some hard work and dedication.
Aristotle not only tried to collect the world’s knowledge, he made observations and formed plenty of theories of his own, increasing the sum total of information.
But something was missing.
Centuries later, after what historians conventionally refer to as The Dark Ages, clerics and civil administrators began to reopen the ancient books and seek non-religious knowledge once more. As the Renaissance paved the way for independent thinking, natural philosophy completed its metamorphosis into modern science.
This transformation was due in part to increased communication between knowledge-seeking parties, but also due to a reworking of how people generally thought about wisdom and learning. No more would simply reasoning through a problem lead to an accurate answer. Instead, one would have to formulate a hypothesis, observe and collect data, and most importantly, conduct repeated experiments to isolate the nature of the problem and discover proven solutions. Armed with the mode of thinking, science and commerce propelled themselves forward and shaped the modern world.
Get to Carnegie Hall
The most successful professional athletes are the ones who show up an hour before practice to hit the gym and then stay an hour afterward to practice technical drills. They also absorb as much information as possible, studying charts, analyzing opponents, and dissecting their own weaknesses. All this hard work makes their actions appear effortless when in fact, the opposite is true. They’ve put in more effort than anyone else. To succeed in the challenging world of business, and indeed to succeed in life, you’ve got to become an expert at trying. Incidentally, this also means you’ll become an expert at failing.
Be Honest with Yourself
But these failures are not in vain. In fact, you can reframe any failure as simply another step toward success if you genuinely learn something and make applicable changes. Look at your attempts as objectively as possible. Ask others you trust for their opinions. Identify what went wrong, tweak and adjust your attempts until they become as clean as a professional basketball player’s free throw shots.
Don’t Stop Believing
Whatever you do, you’ve got to keep moving. Even when things begin to look bleak, you’ve got to stay in motion. If you stop making attempts, you’ll be weighed down by the heavy distress of inaction. The best way to keep moving, and keep trying, is to capture the energy and exuberance that acted as your catalyst in the first place. This is easier said than done but it must be achieved. Remind yourself of your initial vision and take small and large steps that will allow you to actualize this vision. If all else fails, pop on some Journey and belt out an inspirational song. Don’t worry. No one is looking.