10 Steps to Guarantee Failure

I was going through various “thinking pieces” that I have collected over the years in my business consulting files and came across this gem — 10 Steps You Can Take To Guarantee Failure. I had first stumbled across this some years ago, and just now when I went back to the original web link it wasn’t live, but I did find it here after a quick Google search, so I wanted to at least provide a link back to someone reputed to be the real author, since as we say all too often in the blog-o-sphere: “It wasn’t me…”. Here it is, and it’s a gem:

In the hustle and bustle of this technologically packed world you may decide you really don’t want to achieve any lasting success in your lifetime.  Sure, you can find a lot of strategies and tips here that can help you increase your success rate.  But what about the people who are perfectly happy not achieving anything?  Is it fair that I keep pushing and prodding if someone is content leaving behind a legacy of debt and mediocrity?  hmmm…maybe not.  So this is for all the people who want to have goals but not achieve them.

1.  Make your goals vague –  When setting your goals, use adjectives such as “more” and “some.”   Goals like “I want to make more money” or “I want to lose some weight” virtually guarantee your progress will be minimal.  Be as wishy-washy as possible.  And while you’re at it, you might want to set a goal of getting a job doing something.

2.  Make your goals difficult to visualize – A good way to do this is to keep changing your mind on the details of your goal.   If you are thinking a goal such as:  “I want to own a red, blue or yellow Corvette or just a Mustang”, then you are definately on the right track.  If you kept that goal planted firmly in your mind, you are virtually guaranteed you’ll never go above a used Hyundai.

3.  Think and speak negatively about your goals – Try using words like “I can’t” and “It’s too hard”.  Goals such as “I can’t get a promotion, It’s too hard to take on more responsibility” will certainly keep you at the bottom of the food chain.  If you can put it in writing or work up enough courage to tell your boss directly, he or she will almost definately avoid promoting you from that point on.  Who knows, you might get lucky and get fired!  It’s worth a shot anyway.

4.  Avoid planning incremental steps – It’s likely that if you have made it this far you are already following this rule already!  Take a goal – even a specific goal like “I will double my income by this time next year”.   Then simply leave it as-is.  Don’t write down any tasks or steps you’ll need to complete in order to achieve it.  Just consider the goal a wish and nothing more.  Creating a step-by-step plan will only confuse matters because it’s all too easy to take action on simple steps. Action in the direction of your goal would lead to success and you definately don’t want that.

5.  Don’t Do – Talk – Because talk is easier than action, this step one of the easiest steps for you to take.  Try to fill up as much of your day with socializing as possible.  Talk about all the things you will do someday or that you were gonna do.  Just make sure you don’t mess it up by doing anything productive.  Action is your enemy.  Embrace your excuses!

6.  Wait until you are motivated – Let’s face it, it’s much too difficult to go jogging or open a mutual fund account when you simply don’t feel like it.  So just wait.  Waiting gives you the peace of mind that someday, you might do something.   But not yet, the timing isn’t right and you aren’t motivated anyway. 

7.  Don’t set a date – Setting a date when you expect to achieve your goal is too much pressure.  Who needs it?  Definitely not you if you want to avoid progress.  You know that goals with dates get done, so by not setting a date you avoid making a commitment.  You can keep putting off stuff.  Even though people may ask “When are you ever going to get around to reaching your target?”, you have a wild card.  By not having a date, you can put off actually doing anything.

8.  List why it’s impossible – Now we are getting into the mental game of failing.  This is quite possibly your greatest weapon against achievement because it destroys hope and optimism.  So as soon as possible, set aside some time to create a long list of how impossible your goal really is.  No matter what your target is, I am sure you can come up with plenty of reasons why it’s impossible.  Be creative, make up some if you have to (i.e. “It’s impossible for me to lose weight because I was kidnapped by space aliens and injected with a fat-serum.”)  Bonus:  You get extra points if you can come up with an excuse using UFOs, ghosts or the Bermuda Triangle.

9.  Don’t research your goal – You’re the kind of guy or gal who likes to “wing it.”  Reading about how others have succeeded achieving a goal similar to you is just a waste of time.  Instead of standing on their shoulders, they should be standing on yours!  Sure, they might have overcome unbelievable odds to get from homelessness to CEO or 450lbs to a 180lbs – but they were probably just “lucky” anyway.  Don’t read anything that promises to help you get to your destination.

10.  Think of anything except your goal – Here’s another mental strategy that will put you on the fast track to failure.  Think of anything except for your goal.  Why visualize success when there’s plenty of clouds, teddy bears,  and TV reruns to think about?   And while you’re at it, take action on these flights of fancy instead of your goal.  I know what you’re thinking…you’re thinking “I wonder if there are any green teddy bears out there?”  Now you’re getting it!  Focusing on your goal for long periods of time can be difficult and challenging.  Thinking about unicorns is easy and fun.  Take the easy path, that’s the only way you can fail in record time.

To conclude, I know you might be a bit overwhelmed with all the work you have to do to avoid reaching your goal.  You might even think it’s even more work.  Never fear!  You can do it.  Print out a copy and hang it on your bathroom mirror.  Post it in your office.  Read it every day.  Internalize these principals and you can reach depths of failure you have possibly never imagined! 

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