You can’t succeed if you can’t fail.

Yesterday I chanced upon a thread on the 2+2 poker forums from a young man with no direction in life who wants to change his circumstances. It’s your stock standard situation of someone who doesn’t know what to do and thus does nothing. I didn’t think much of it until I noticed that the thread was originally started two years ago. The young man had returned to the thread exactly two years to the day to post an update.

The update was that nothing had changed. He still doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life and as a consequence he has wasted two years of his life agonizing over his inability to do anything.

I didn’t read the entire thread, I merely skipped through to the new posts from the last few days. I noticed that he kept going on about his “dream job” and “finding his passion”, all phrases which cause me to groan in despair. Nobody has ever discovered their passion by sitting at home and contemplating their navel. The only proven method is to get out there and flail around until you stumble across it by chance. So I left a pithy comment that said as much and left it at that.

Until this morning when I checked the thread again and I saw that he had written the following:

Still living at home where most of my bills are covered etc. No crazy hobby and entertainment stuff is rather cheap where I live here in Europe.

Stuck in the comfort zone for too long and turning 30 next year so yeah not feeling too great about the whole situation.

Those of you who are familiar with my series of the 28 traits of the modern man will immediately recognize that the young man in question has broken rule number 18 – The modern man does not live with his parents.

While I listed many good reasons in that article as to the benefits of leaving home, there was one that on consideration I find that I have omitted. This young man’s dire circumstances provided me with the illumination on the matter.

He has not succeeded because he has not been allowed to fail.

He isn’t hungry, both literally and figuratively. As he is secure in the knowledge that food will be provided for him, he thus does not get out and seek food for himself. Parental welfare is just as bad as government welfare. Many parents do not want their children to go out into the world because the parents themselves cannot handle the thought of their child failing. The parents seek to shield themselves from their own weakness on this matter by encouraging the child to remain in the safe and cossetted environment of the family surrounds.

Inevitably they will seek to disguise their ulterior motives by suggesting that the child move out or get a job. The more guilt they feel on this matter, the more they will nag, but all the while continuing to provide everything that the child needs to have a comfortable life. Listen not to what people say, rather watch what they do.

This man is almost thirty years old but I refer to him as a child because that is what he is. The only way to break out of this narcotic trap is to throw yourself to the wolves. You need to face that which terrifies you most – the act of leaving the family home and making your own way in the world. This is terrifying because you are not guaranteed success. You may fail. What will you do when you don’t have enough money to feed yourself one day?

That’s the whole point. By failing you discover inner resources that you didn’t know you had. Hidden wells of talent and drive that were clouded over by your parents’ fear of not being able to deal with their child’s failure.

This is what my first book was all about. I had in fact already moved out of home but I was still stagnating. So I moved physical location from one side of Australia to the other. No safety net there, and a whole city of people in which I knew nobody at all. I failed at some points but I succeeded more than I failed. And bit by bit I found my way. It took me only two years to completely turn my life around and create a new existence for myself that I had no idea existed while I was sitting back in my home town.

The same length of time that this young man has been sitting at home with his parents. Unwilling to face the idea of falling down. Unable to act as he does not yet know how.

There are no guarantees in life. If you seek the comfort of guarantees then you will get nowhere. Guaranteed.

11 thoughts on “You can’t succeed if you can’t fail.

  1. We should set up a training academy of sorts. You’ve heard of Outward Bound? We’ll call ours Manward Bound. It will have to be physically rigorous as well as mentally challenging. Couple it with some real world academic work and we might have something. Make it about a 5 week course.

    A men’s modern rite of passage if you will. Contacts, and camaraderie will naturally spring from it. You can almost hear the SJW cries from here, over such a course

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    1. Dan Flynn

      Developing yourself as a human being and finding wisdom need not have anything to do with SJWs. Let them travel their own journey while you focus on yours.

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  2. Moving out soon myself. But I do think there’s something you missed, that I like my parents and want to spend time with them. That’s something I’ll miss, at the end of the day.

    also people tend to gaze at their navel rather than their naval 😡

    Fixed, cheers. AP.

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  3. Adam, not for publication unless you wish. This is about your podcast and I can’t see any other way to get hold of you. I listen to about 20 podcasts a week, my work allows me to do this. I like your podcast but technically it really needs to be recorded at a higher volume level. I don’t know if it’s your mike or the setup but in the car with the volume up full I have trouble hearing you. Yours is the only podcast with this problem and it’s consistent. Often I have to abandon the listening, please can you fix it?

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  4. Yeah, good advice. When I first emigrated from the UK I made sure I didn’t stop and think too hard about it, fearing that if I did I wouldn’t go. The lesson I learned is grab the first opportunity that comes up, rather than waiting for the right one to come along. You can always move if you don’t like it, and the first step is always the hardest.

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  5. I let my kid move back in when he went to school. When he stopped going to school and only sporadically attended the job he got to replace the school I kicked him out. He told me he hoped they fired him because he hated the job. You can imagine my response to that.

    Long run? He went back to school a year or so later, got a pharmacy tech credential and is a pharmacist. Doing well and enjoying his job.

    Hooray. Success story.

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