What would you do if you were trying to fail?
Failing spectacularly in life probably isn’t your goal, but humor me for a minute and make yourself a little list of what you would do if you *wanted* to fail in a big way.
Really, stop reading and jot down / dictate / somehow create a list of how you would plan to fail.
Ok, let’s look at some of the top failing strategies. First off, did you list things that are incredibly unhealthy? What if you slept as little as possible? Perhaps add drugs or alcohol to that list. Wait, to really fail increase those drugs and drinks a bit more… good. Oh, and don’t exercise. Whatever you do, do it sitting down or laying on the couch. Maybe while you’re not sleeping you could be doing something like a Netflix binge or video gaming or facebooking while periodically taking the time to order more pizza. The only exercise you should get is running out for more beer.
Mmmmm, that’s a great start. Imagine how crummy you’ll feel once you’ve had a few weeks of pizza, beer, lethargy, and bad sleep. What a nice foundation for failure!! Let’s see what else we can think of. Maybe you spend all of your money on really expensive unhealthy habits and then alienate all of your friends by being a jerk. Being broke and friendless adds some great flavor text to the failure story.
Does this sound preposterous? Good. Maybe that isn’t your path to failure. Let’s try another. How about if you’re clever and pretend to be succeeding but on the sly you’re actually trying to fail. What would that look like? Perhaps work yourself into a failure frenzy and go down in flames. Apply for several jobs and many, many clubs or other commitments. If you’re unsure about the proper number of commitments ask a friend what is reasonable and triple that. I’d sleep as little as possible. Drink energy drinks. All. Day. Long. Can you pick an exercise and do it to such excess that you injure yourself? Add 1-2 more classes to your schedule than is recommended. Go ahead and get permission from the Dean to do that. Don’t tell the Dean that you’re also President of your social club and working 2 jobs. Don’t rest. Be on your feet 18 hours a day running from one activity to another. Live on protein shakes and power bars. Make sure never to eat vegetables. Fall through on many of your promises and let down your friends. Failure includes pissing off your friends.
Oh, there are more fun ways to fail at school. Skip class, be sarcastic, show no interest, don’t study, slump in your chair, whine when you speak. Maybe there are more ways…. I bet you can think of other failing strategies.
What are the other arenas in life. Oh, attitude and mental health. To fully embrace failure spend lots more time focusing on what a failure you are. Break from that only to focus on how lucky/pretty/rich etc your peers are. That might not be enough. What are some other depressing or unhealthy attitudes you can adopt? If you really work at this you can get yourself into a nice state of depression or anxiety at the very least you can develop some stress related tics or illness. That’s always fun.
For me a key component to failure has always been too much time alone. If I wanted to fail I’d eat lots of sugary foods, drink daily, be alone, sit around, play games on my phone, worry about my loved ones, spend too much money shopping for things that clutter my home, and avoid paying bills until they are past due.
Am I missing some key components to failing? Get good and clear and make some nice varieties of failure. Take a few minutes to make it personal. If you were going to go down in flames based on your personal tendencies and personality how do you think you’d do it? And then… take a moment to think about your habits as they are. Do you have any areas of your life that are too close for comfort to your list of how to fail?
Right now is always the perfect time to make a course correction.