Start to type “key to success…” in Google and see how many different ways there are to be successful. HBS – the ultimate launching pad of success in America – throws up a somewhat non-intuitive, but particularly relevant one for us: just quit! Or more eloquently: “Quit early and often…be the best quitter you know”
But caution, “dont quit because it’s hard, quit because it sucks.”
A close corollary to that is idea that failing now will help you succeed later. Some wildly successful people from Jimmy Wales to Michael Jordan to Thomas Edison claim that failing set them up for later. But is it cognitive dissonance? –> Are they mis-attributing a positive result with a revisionist idea of how they got there? Who doesn’t like to claim that “it was all worth it” and “I wouldn’t change a thing”?
Sure, I’ve failed massively before conquering little mountains. And I’d like to think that what didn’t kill me made me stronger. That having failed before helped me be tougher. Though, honesty, it’s really hard to draw the line between justification and reality.
In banking interviews, most senior bankers utterly fail in making that distinction. They like to think that they followed the mailroom-to-boardroom path to success, so they profess to seek out the grinders and hard-luck kids. But in the end, who gets hired more often than not?….polished kids who’ve probably never failed at anything huge in their life and will be crying the first time they get yelled at for miscoloring a pie chart.
Or maybe that’s just me playing revisionist history on my path…