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Richard Dennis
February 22, 2012, 01:07 PM

Thanks for your comments.

Knowing somebody else has succeeded - revealing a proven, tested model - has helped a lot of people believe. It works for me, too ... now. But back before I had any personal evidence of success, that logic would wear off. I looked at my model and believed. Then I failed. And failed. And failed again. And the belief morphed to "OK. Somebody else has done this, but I can't do it. I must be the world's biggest friggin' idiot." Result? Zero confidence, zero belief, zero chance of success.

I think we can all agree that the vast majority of people never achieve what they want in life. For most of us, no matter how strong the external evidence, 3 or 4 unsuccessful tries is proof of our personal failure. Most of us aren't mentally tough enough to not be affected by all that evidence that we suck. Our self-belief is damaged or devastated. For most of us, at that point, the fact that somebody else has been successful at this action doesn't mean squat. If anything, it's even more depressing. ("They can do it, so I must REALLY suck!") For most people, belief cannot be sustained thru multiple failures.

And then someone tells you, "You just have to believe!" Personally, that instruction was absurd, and I had plenty of personal evidence to prove it was idiotic.

Fortunately for me, I love a puzzle. And when I learned about testing, my puzzle-solver mentality took over. The idea of testing turned achievement into a big jigsaw puzzle. I tried a piece, and it didn't work. I tried another piece, and it didn't work. But it wasn't failure anymore. It wasn't rejection. I was just working the puzzle. In fact, it no longer had anything to do with success or failure. Instead, testing was a game. As kids, we learn to play a game to the end. So it was easy to keep going until I found the next puzzle piece that fit. And the more pieces that fit, the easier the puzzle got.

Oh, yes, I know that to a lot of people, this mental jiu-jitsu absolutely sounds 100% loony tunes. But most people, in the face of failure after failure, cave. (I used to be a master caver.) Belief in the model of somebody else's achievement fades away in the reality of personal failure. And if belief disappears, how can you keep going?

The attitude of testing and puzzle-solving have changed everything for me, because there is NO failure or rejection. Belief and confidence never disappear. You learn as a kid that most pieces don't fit. So you just try the next piece and the next and keep going until you finish the puzzle.


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