The Common Denominator of Success

Failure. The most successful people do not fear failure. They fail often and learn quickly. Failure informs uncontested success. If you want to succeed, embrace failure as a necessary ingredient to achieving greater goals.

Taking Things Slow

When I was growing up, the courtship expression “taking things slow” was entirely sexual. As the world matured and knocking boots became a recreational pastime, that expression became far less definitive. You want to take things slow? Okay, fine. But we’ve already consummated our acquaintance, so what exactly are we taking slow? Exclusivity? Time investment? Attendance at family gatherings? Dark secrets? Shared finances? Contracts? Procreation?

If you want to take things slow, you need to define a pacing metric for the other party involved. It is unreasonable and unnatural to expect the other person to take it easy on all fronts. After all, you would hope he or she is invested in you and wants to share more. While love will always be abstract, communication is imperative and there are a whole host of metrics you can outline. If we’re talking sexual, the bases can be a metric. Dates, deadlines and introductions can be metrics. Be clear about what the milestones are and do your best to sincerely justify your rationale.

No, this is not a relationship advice column. “Taking things slow” applies to business, projects, negotiations, physical therapy, meal consumption, tricycle training, and world domination. Metrics, objectives and scheduling are essential for measuring progress and success.


The Key to Success

Degrees? Funds? Ideas? Street smart? Experience? Politics? Connections?

No. Not even close.

Your heart is the key to success. Passion is the fuel that sustains hard work, manifests talent and ties relationships. If you love what you do and love the people around you, you will succeed. If you don’t, you probably won’t – at least not in the manner you personally define success.


The concept of failure as an educational tool is not new, nor is it particularly difficult to rationalize. Make a mistake and you are less likely to make the same mistake again. Touch a hot stove? Fail. Lesson learned. The human value of failure is obvious, right?

Easier said than done. Nobody likes to fail. More often than not, we shy away from the obstacles that may otherwise drive us to fail. Generally, we avoid risk. Consequently, we learn very little.

Former IBM president Thomas J. Watson once said, “If you want to succeed, double your failure rate.” In pursuit of a fulfilled life, we need to take more chances – and therefore prepare ourselves for a higher volume of failure. For what reason? Because every time we fail, we learn. The more we learn, the more equipped we are to iterate on our failure.  With enough iterations, we will unlock our potential and succeed.

Abstinence from action is abstinence of growth.

Do not sit still. Take chances. Fail. And love it.