The other F word

James Clear on the 4 types of failure.

Why do things fail?

James Clear outlines four reasons for failure:

  • Failure of tactics (how)
  • Failure of strategy (what)
  • Failure of vision (why)
  • Failures of opportunity (who)

It’s true, that failure is the likely outcome for most companies.

In the four he outlines, the most interesting is his analysis on the failure of vision.

Having a clear idea of what you want from your life is a good starting point. I’ve done some basic goal setting, but not completed the larger tasks he suggests. Alex Dunsdon also has an interesting framework to try (again, not done this either).

Vision is a good idea, but it misses a key point. If you’re not really sure what you want, your vision is likely to just be a mirror of societies vision.

It’ll often be focused on externalised success. Certain revenues, certain funding milestones, a nice house, great looking wife and a sports car.

My vision at 23 was to be a millionaire by 30. The result?

Stuck working my arse off in a red ocean industry, with a pain in the arse company and ignoring all the warnings signs.

7 years and one mental breakdown later, I am not a millionaire.

What would I change?

My life vision now would include rest. Time to read. Time to write. Time to create. Time to have fun that isn’t at the bottom of 12 pints. Travel.

Second confession - I’m not ticking all these boxes by any means, but accepting my way through those failures more gently.

So, whilst we’re worrying about failure of tactics, or strategy, start by zooming out your ideas about vision.

Maybe you really do want that billion $ payday. Maybe you just don’t know what you really want yet. And whilst I find that idea terrifying, I think it’s true.

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