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    Wednesday
    Jun082011

    Success vs. Failure

    If only it were that easy.  A fork in the road, clearly marked, turn left for success and right for failure.  Unfortunately, things are rarely (and for most...never) that simple.  What many don't understand is that there still are signs, just not ones that you may anticipate.  Signs can range in form, timing, and style and often the "Next Available Exit" is miles down the road and not as pretty or visible as the first.  Fact is, whether its professionally or personally, we all hit and miss exits on a routine basis.  From a failure to listen to clear direction from my wife; to failing to exit an investment before a massive decline in value...missing the exit ramp is usually a costly mistake.  In my experience, here are a few factors that influence why we miss exit ramps (both visible and hidden):

    1. Emotion.  It's simple, people often lead with their emotions.  This is a bad idea as emotions are much stronger follower than leaders.  When we make decisions based on emotion, we increase the risk of seeing the signs and further entrench ourselves in the problem itself.

    2. Ignorance.  To dumb to see...to dumb to care...to dumb period.  The believe that "well this isn't that bad" or "I'll fight my way past this one" hasn't been a very strategic plan in the past.  I think the Captain of the Titanic blew past a few signs due to ignorance...that didn't end well (although NetFlix has "Titanic 2" playing, so maybe I'm wrong).

    3. History. I have discussed this principle in previous posts.  The fact is, that when you look at historical data...it helps.  I know that the QEW has an exit every 2 kilometers.  If the last 10 exits were spaced 10km apart, I can antipate that one will be up again shortly.  Before I panic or blindly swerve on the shoulder...I should look in the rearview mirror.

    4. Fear. Exit ramps and unknown turns can be scary.  Fact is, if you KNOW that success is one way and failure is the other...but you don't know which is which...that is a scary decision.  No great decision was ever made without first a great risk being taken.

    5. Pride.  It encompasses all of the top 4 blinders above.  Pride fails to let fact lead rather than emotions...Pride is ignorant and doesn't ask for directions...Pride thinks that it's special and that examining history is for the weak...Pride hides fear and plays to win. Pride also chooses failure more times than not and turns great ideas into great misfortunes, potential winners into sore losers.

    When the fork in the road comes, whether the signs are clearly marked or if you need to use a little "gut feeling" remove the blinders and take the corner at a speed that allows you to make the turn.

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