Fail Your Way to Success

By Malcolm Fleschner

Setbacks are a fact of life. No one likes to fail, besides maybe the Harlem Globetrotters’ hapless opponents. The difference between long-term success and mediocrity is determined by how one responds to life’s frequent difficulties. Rather than suggesting that people try to avoid failure, author Richard Fenton recommends embracing that disappointment. If you’re bound to fail, he argues, why not fail spectacularly? In Go for No: the Ultimate Strategy for Failing Your Way to Success! (Apt Publishing, 2000), Fenton identifies the five levels of failure and what it takes to progress through each one.

Level One: The Ability to Fail
This is where we all start – one common bond uniting all humanity is that we all have the capacity to fail. Yet 90 percent of all people remain on level one because they are driven by an intense desire to avoid failure at all costs.

Level Two: The Willingness to Fail
People at level two come to accept that failure will result from making any effort. Not even 20 percent of all people arrive and stay at level two for any sustained period of time.

Level Three: The Desire to Fail
Beyond accepting failure lies the desire, the urge to embrace failure, knowing that only by moving through these obstacles will you achieve your financial and personal goals. Fewer than 5 percent of people make it to level three.

Level Four: Failing Better and Faster
At this level people have recognized that if failing is good, then failing faster must be better. To make the loudest splat when falling flat on their faces, level four failures go after the substantial goals that are worthy of the effort.

Level Five: Sharing the Failure Wealth
Individuals at level five not only fail themselves spectacularly, but they bring others down with them. They understand that just as individual failure delivers individual success, group failure will similarly result in the greater group accomplishment.