What Have You Failed at Today? Three Things I Gave Up or Failed in order to Succeed
Come Fail Away
There is no shame in failure! And, I recommend everyone try it. It is often the result of trying something new or exploring an untested idea. One of the biggest takeaways from failure is that just because you failed today, doesn’t mean you’ll fail tomorrow. You can always try again! I think a lot of people hide their failure because they think it reflects weakness, but sharing it helps people grow and allows one to reflect. As a nerd who grew up while The Internet was going mainstream, I’ve spent a lot of time scrolling through forums, chat rooms and social media like Facebook, Instagram, and Medium. So much of it portrays glamour and success, and it makes it easy to forget we fail far more often than succeed. It seems like the media shows only the end of the story… the part we’re supposed emulate… It does not show the struggle and failure that often comes before the accomplishments.
Here are three examples of when I failed and gave up on my dreams so I could spend that energy on something different:
I Quit Playing an Instrument
When I was a kid, I played the violin. My mother put me in private lessons and I became decent for my age. Despite her best efforts, I was a foolish child and I didn’t care to practice. I transitioned to the standing bass when I got a little older, and then I lost interest in playing in the orchestra around Seventh grade. Instead, I joined the choir. Maybe if I had just stuck with violin things would have been different, but I jumped around from thing to thing and didn’t care to practice.
I gave up the orchestra, but I still love the strings and have always been a huge metal head. The heavier the better! Growing up, I thought metal was a phase, but even at 33 I find myself headbanging to gnarly riffs and blast beats while screaming lyrics lead melodies.
Later in life, around 23–24, I bought a guitar. I was able to get a great deal on one when the retail shop I worked at started selling high end musical gear. I took some lessons for the first month or two after buying it, but then quit practicing because I didn’t feel like I was progressing. I started dating a girl that was into punk rock, and that inspired me to pick it up again, but ultimately, I gave up and sold my guitar to an aspiring rocker. I just didn’t feel like I was getting good so I gave up. However, I kept my violin to pass down to my first-born child.
I Failed Affiliate Marketing
I decided to try Amazon Affiliate Marketing to see if I could make some money for doing one of my favorite things: Eating beef jerky! I read a few online forums for ideas about how to get started, and then I watched a couple YouTube videos about setting up a WordPress store specifically for Amazon API. This was before I knew how to create my own websites and program cool dashboards. WordPress makes it easy but seems expensive. Perhaps that is because my site didn’t take off and I didn’t need the features for which I was paying.
I created a website on which I reviewed beef jerky and tried to sell it to consumers.
In total, I made around 5 dollars. It cost around 300 to create. You do the math! In addition to getting a domain and hosting package, I took the time to set up an Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube account. I learned that promoting and growing a website takes a lot of time and effort. I marketed myself for about a week before I got tired of it and hoped my site would simply grow out of hope. It did not and will close in April.
Although I learned a lot, I mostly learned that I like writing and eating jerky more than web development. Regardless, if I try again, it helps that I can save myself BIG MONEY by understanding how to create and host my own websites. Recently, I’ve been using Medium to learn more about marketing and entrepreneurship too. Maybe I’ll get inspired and the day will come sooner than later!
I Failed at Being a Gamer
Since I was a young boy, I’ve loved playing video games. My parents weren’t big on games, so I didn’t have any consoles until later in life. I was a PC gamer from day one! Back in the day, computers would come with a stack of demo software, including some video games! I installed the demos and played as many as I could. Once I got the internet, my buddies and I would download shareware games over dial-up. We would start a download in the morning, and then have to go outside and play while hoping it would finish by dinner. Although I played a lot of games, I never got great at any of them.
Competitive gaming evolved from Cal-I to MLG while I was in and high school and college, and e-sports were born. I have some friends who are still huge fans of Doom and Quake. Heck, if a new Unreal Tournament was released tomorrow, I’d probably buy it! These days however, the e-sports scene is dominated by strategy games like MOBAs and shooters like Fortnite. I’m have too much going on in life and can’t dedicate time to becoming a competitive gamer anymore.
When I was around 26, I decided to stop jumping from game to game and instead focused on the few I loved. My game of choice for the past 7 years has been Path of Exile. It is free to play and offers an incredibly deep and complex RPG experience. It has a great community and is developed by one of the best companies in the industry, Grinding Gear Games.
I got deep into Path of Exile and decided to try streaming on Twitch.
I had been playing for years and knew a lot about the game. I bought an awesome microphone and webcam, and I researched how to set up a stream and attract viewers. Once again, I learned that growing an audience takes an incredible amount of work:
Market on social media
Interact with the community
Besides all the work, I didn’t like being on camera that much. Streams that don’t show a person have a much lower chance of gaining viewership!
Giving Up Allowed Me to Succeed
Even though I gave up or failed at a few things that didn’t keep my interest, I was able to pivot my focus into areas that worked for me. I took up data analytics and stuck with coding and computers. I continued to write, read and focus on my relationships and studies. Not only that, but after you give up or fail, you realize you can always go back and try again. Perhaps I’ll pick up the violin again one day? I failed at a ton of other stuff too while I discovered my passion for data science and the stock market. Failing is great and made me realize something…
I realized that turning my hobbies into businesses makes them feel like too much work!
Thanks for reading, and I hope you’re now inspired to fail. Try something new and see if you can make it work for you! If you’re thinking about getting into data science or analytics check out my reflection after my first 90 days in field.