Do you use a Fiascos and Flops List?

In The News

Bad events are stronger than good.

Research shows that we learn from and use negative information far more than positive information when making decisions.

Negative events have a greater impact on us than positive ones. Negative events are more memorable. An embarrassing moment, losing a friend, getting fired, receiving criticism, an altercation with a stranger. We are more motivated to avoid these bad situations than we are to pursue good ones.

It would make sense to focus on our failures to avoid replicating them. But our ego gets in the way of allowing our own errors to serve as teaching tools, pointing instead to bad luck, unfortunate timing, or external circumstances to excuse our gaffes: the weather, the traffic, the sabotaging colleagues, the jerk in the store, our manager's poor judgment, the short - sited client.

And society has convinced us to study successful people through books, magazines, speakers, and movies. The reality, however, is that success is hard to replicate. There are too many factors involved.

Failure, however, can easily be replicated. So let's focus on others' failures, mistakes, gaffes, errors, and missteps so we don't replicate them:

  • When engaging with a Mentor, ask about their mistakes and lessons learned
  • When talking with anyone about their success, ask about what didn't work
  • When reading about successful people in books and magazines, focus on their errors and blunders
  • When in awe of role models, notice their miscalculations and gaffes
  • Keep a list of failures, fiascos, and flops of other people, teams, and companies
  • Then study the list regularly

Warren Buffet's business partner, Charles Munger, keeps an inanities list and a file of foolishness filled with other people's missteps, errors, and bad judgment. He studies it to ensure he doesn't replicate them.

Create your own Fiascos and Flops List and reference it before making decisions. When everyone else is trying to parrot the successful, you'll be busy generating your own success.

- Ann Tardy

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