If at First You Don’t Succeed….Quit!

Yes, you read that right. I know the popular thinking says to try again but really, what’s the point. It’s terrible advice. Actually the popular thinking says to try and try again but that’s even worse advice.


If you want to succeed then stop when you fail. Stop until you can figure out a better plan and then and only then should you try again. It’s possible the failure was even caused by not having a plan at all. 


I know planning isn’t fun for most people but it is an essential part of all long-term success. Successful people know that they aren’t “spending” time when planning, they are “investing” time. 


Even when the plan fails they get a return on their investment. The return comes from being able to pinpoint the cause of the failure and build a better plan for their next attempt. 


Despite what you may have heard and despite what you may have been told, there is nothing wrong with quitting. It can actually be healthy just so long as you begin again. Sometimes the fastest way forward is to take a step or two backward so you can rethink and regroup. 


That rethinking MUST include revisiting your plan to determine what needs to change before you try again. Never mindlessly try again. Trying again while doing the same thing is terrible advice. At least have some idea what went wrong. Why it went wrong and what needs to change to eliminate the cause of that particular failure from happening again. 


You may not succeed with your next attempt but at least you will not fail for the same reason. Successful people call that progress!


Somebody smarter than me said “If you always do what you’ve always done then you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” I know that’s true. I learned the truth in that statement when I tried and tried again without stopping to rethink and regroup. 

Don’t make the same mistake. Fail and then quit. Quit long enough to consider why the failure happened. Consider also what needs to change to prevent it from happening again. Once you have a better plan then by all means possible begin again because success is often just one better plan away. 

Your Next Shot

I’ve been blessed many times with the opportunity to visit The Pinehurst Resort. It is truly the golf Mecca of the United States and home of the world famous Pinehurst No. 2 golf course.

If you’re even a little into the game of golf you need to add a visit to Pinehurst to your bucket list and get yourself there very soon. The golf is world class, the food is to die for and the people, well the people who serve you at Pinehurst are the kind of people you would be friends with back home. There are few places like Pinehurst anywhere in the world.

But without question the centerpiece of Pinehurst is the golf course known as No. 2. It was designed in 1907 by the legendary Donald Ross.

Donald Ross designed No. 2 to mirror life, if you hit it straight you had a chance to succeed. If you hit in the the rough well things could literally be rough. You could drive the ball 250 yards but it would count for very little if you couldn’t navigate a 6 inch putt on the delicate and challenging greens. As in life, Mr. Ross wanted little things to matter on No. 2. But no matter what you did with your previous shot always there would be a chance at a better one next time, a recovery shot. Redemption! 

Whether in golf or life we always hope for something better the next time, even the most successful people sometimes need another chance to succeed. 

I’ve hit a lot of bad shots on No. 2, but I’ve hit some good ones too. Either way it’s the chance for another shot, a better shot next time which keeps me coming back for more. It’s really the next shot that truly matters. If it’s a better shot your back in the game, if it’s a worse shot you’re in trouble but still, you have a chance for a better shot next time. 

Life is like that except shots are called choices. We can get away with a bad one now and then but too many bad choices in a row can send us somewhere we don’t want to be. But the only way to recover from one bad choice or even a series of bad choices is to make another, better choice. Continual success does not come from effort, it comes from continual effort. Even if you’ve made ten good choices in a row your success only continues if you continue to make good choices. 

It’s the old “what have you done for me lately” cliché. Our success is determined in large part by the choices we’ve made lately. The fact that we may have been a success in the past does not necessarily mean we are still a success today. For me anyway success in far more about the journey than it is about the destination. (Maybe that’s because I’ve yet to “arrive.” 😉)

Some people like to rest on their laurels but successful people would tell you that laurels quickly become a pretty uncomfortable place to rest. Laurels in fact are where success goes to die.

So go ahead, make a bad shot, make a bad choice and then make some more. Some will be better than others, the true secret to success is to never stop trying. Most successful people indeed failed along the way. They didn’t succeed because all their choices were good, they succeeded because when one choice was bad they took the chance at making another one.