What would you do if you knew you would fail?

podcast lessons

by Tina

Our SHIFTSCHOOL Podcast Lessons: Podcast #476 of the Tim Ferriss Show with Seth Godin.

Seth Godin is a teacher, author of 20 international bestselling books such as Tribes and Linchpin and has a daily blog where he writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, leadership, and “changing everything”. In our Podcast of the month he talks with podcast host Tim Ferriss on several great topics that I learned a lot from:

>> The inability to ignore sunk cost
Our inability to ignore sunk cost (a cost that has already been incurred and cannot be recovered) is one of the most important elements of human nature. Sunk costs are the unspoken minefield of mistakes. We don’t get tired of inventing new meanings for them and we believe that we have to stick with what we did. But learning to ignore sunk cost is the single most useful thing! If you think about it, the current western mindset is often: ‘tell me if it is going to work and then I’ll do it!’ And a part of this attitude comes from school. Just think of the question that we all have asked our teachers: ‘will this be on the test?’ And the question meant: If not, then I don’t need to learn it…. The question that supports this mindset is the mantra of “What would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail?” There is another question we should ask instead …

>> Worrying is experiencing failure in advance
Very often when we worry about something or are anxious, it’s because we think it might go wrong – and worrying is what we feel when we imagine it did! But that is not helping us in any way. The better question to ask is: how do we focus our attention on something generous instead? Because anxiety and worrying is never in service of someone else but in service of our need for status quo and reassurance.

>> Reassurance is futile
Reassurance is futile because we can never have enough of it. Of course, it feels great to get reassurance but only for a short time. What reassurance did for us is it makes us feel for a moment that bad outcomes might not happen. But only until we had new evidence that they might. And then we are back to anxiety and worrying again. And we need new reassurance. But reassurance is not helping us get better in the end nor does it make us happier. The alternative is to say: the thing I care might not work – but then I will just do the next thing. Almost always this thing is not a matter of life or death – it is instead a matter of ego and self-esteem and it is not fatal. All of the worrying and anxiety is worse than the rejection when it finally comes. It’s better to merely do the work and focus on the process instead of the outcome.

>> Important questions (not only) for entrepreneurs
When we start a business (and I think this is true for starting a new job or making a big decision as well), the core questions we should begin with are:

> What resources are we willing to put into this – either resources that we are willing to expend emotional burn risk to get them or resources we already have. This could be resources of time, risk tolerance or money.

> Who do we want your customers to be? Because if we hate our customers we are going to hate our business.

> What do we want to get out of this? Are we looking for something that makes every day better? Or are we looking to gruel our way through something that x number of months or years from now will make us win a prize.

We should notice that we do not get to reverse the answers afterwards because they are not about our idea at all! So we have to get really clear about why we are doing this, what we are doing it for and who this is for.

>> Important life lessons from juggling
The driving force of the juggler is to not drop the ball. So if people want to learn juggling they start immediately with a focus on catching. And this usually works fine with one or two balls, but as soon as the third ball enters the game, they all fall down. So what is the alternative? It is exercising to THROW the ball. Because when you are really good at throwing, the catching takes care of itself. (It takes maybe 40 min of exercise – go try for yourself!) The lesson here is: Divorce from the outcome! Getting better at throwing is what we have to do to build resilience. And metaphorically that’s what we have to do to live in a world that is changing ever faster. Because if we try to anchor on outcomes and control results, we are in the catching business. And then we are in real trouble.

>> “Do what you love” is for amateurs
“Do what you love” is for amateurs, “love what you do” is for professionals. If you want to know why Seth Godin is of this opinion, you will have to listen to the podcast yourself 😊 Enjoy listening!

I will leave you with this one big question from Seth that we have been reflecting upon the whole summer before making the decision to kill our darling, namely our established “Digital Transformation Manager” program and put all our eggs in one basket and create the 21st century SHIFTSHAPE CLUB. It is: “WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU KNEW YOU WOULD FAIL”?!