I was doing a poker workshop a couple of weeks ago and learned that you should ‘fold’ (not play the hand) 80% of the time. Wowzers! So you may play a good hand and win just 20% of the time. This got me thinking: how often should we be ‘folding’ in life? Is it right to jack something in without giving it a full opportunity to play out? Or are we saving ourselves some heartache by simply knowing when to fold ’em at the right time?
I think it’s probably fairly easy to tell from this site and the way I live my life that I am 100% in the Team Live Your Dream camp. I am all for pursuing what you want, chasing your happiness, setting goals and doing what you can to achieve them. All that being said, I think we probably all know someone who has been slogging away at their dream for years, making no in roads, no progress, and yet, they outright refuse to give up.
Is that determination or stupidity?
Sometimes I think you have to accept when things just aren’t working. You may think you have the greatest idea and people just haven’t caught on to your genius yet, but the reality is, you need others to believe in it if it’s ever gonna get anywhere. If nobody does, if the enthusiasm isn’t there after years, well, it may be time to change tack.
You have to be flexible in your dream.
It’s not always going to come gift wrapped, looking exactly the way you imagined it. Sometimes it’s just something loosely connected to what you thought up that is actually the killer idea.
But we’ve all been told that ‘failure’s not an option’ and we should never quit. I see nothing wrong with admitting something isn’t working out though. If you’ve truly tried your hardest, gone at this thing every which way and you’re just getting nowhere, I’d say the time would be much better spent scrapping it and going back to the drawing board. It’s just time to re-imagine whatever your idea was, come at it from a different angle. Maybe it’s time to scrap it altogether, AND THAT’S OK.
It’s not a failure if you learned something from the process. It’s not quitting – you’re just shifting your perspective, exploring other options, trying to figure out a way you can put this puzzle together so that it results in success – whatever success means to you.
All of the greats ‘failed’ a million times over before they struck gold. Don’t put all your chips in on one idea. You should have a ton of ideas (and if you don’t, maybe that’s the problem). Don’t be scared to tap into your vault of awesome and see what else has been laying dormant in there while you were trying to make that other thing work.
Redefine failure. Stop being scared of it. Know when to fold ’em and walk away. That might be the only way you’ll find the thing that catapults you into the stratosphere.