Category Archives: Personal Development

Why failing is a good thing

This post was published on The Huffington Post

Failure is all too often seen as a weakness in our society and as something you should be embarrassed of. Failure technically means the exact opposite of winning, but they are two sides of a coin — one wouldn’t exist without the other.

How can you possibly define your own success if you’ve never failed? The countless “failures” I’ve had over the course of my life have shaped me into the person who I am today and contributed to my successes.

It was Henry Ford who said: “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” It means that every time you fail at something, you’ve learnt a specific way how not to complete your goal, which in turn will bring you closer to that goal.

Every time you fail it can feel like a blockade which slows you down or even stops you from moving into the future you want for yourself. Emotions usually get the best of us and we will feel disappointment, anger, sadness and defeat when we fail at something. This is often because we don’t have the patience to wait for success in this 21st century life of instant gratification.

How would you feel if you’d try something relatively simple every single day for more than a year and fail every single time? I bet most of us would give up and admit defeat. Now think all the way back to when you were a baby. How many tries did it take you to start walking — the numerous amount of times you would have stumbled and fell within that year would be enough for most adults to give up completely. But because you persisted as a baby — with no concept of success or failure — you will walk through life all the way until the end of your days (barring unforeseen circumstances, of course).

My method to overcome the feelings of despair and defeat is to create a point of reference, within myself. A viewpoint which allows me to put failures into perspective. It’s important to have this point of reference created from your own experiences in your life and never compare your situation with other people. No two stories are the same so do not use those of others to compare yourself against.

Stay inside of your own reality because we all have different skills, talents, surroundings, interests, opportunities and beliefs. Do not compare yourself to anyone, measure your own progress by counting your failures and realising how they’ve all contributed to your successes, big and small.

How to make criticism work for you

So, out of the blue, this guy contacts me, saying he would help me out getting one of my sites in better shape. My initial reaction? WTF. Are you trying to tell me that my site isn’t good the way it is now? Are you saying I did a shit job at it? Its making me over $3000 per month on semi auto-pilot. I don’t see anything wrong with it.

Aaah, but then I started thinking. If someone is offering you a helping hand, you shouldn’t think that way. Instead, you should think of the fact that they are looking at your site from a different angle. They have a fresh set of eyes, and they don’t expect the same from your site as you do.

Customer Visitor is king.

So, going forward, one of the suggestions he made was that I should transfer a lot of the static stuff, like images, plugins, and CSS to an external service (Amazon cloudfront). Basically I had been toying with the idea for some time now, since my server kept getting hammered by huge (1.4 million pageviews!) amounts of traffic (It’s quite a popular video site I’m talking about), and I really didn’t want to fork out yet another $100 for a new upgrade. I have already gone through 4 upgrades in the last 4 months. Currently the server is running on a 2.4Ghz Quadcore CPU, 8GB RAM and a 100Mbps line. Even with the WP-super-cache plugin, the server was still slowing down to the point where I was losing visitors.

So now Amazon is hosting all of the site’s heavy files, and basically all the server is running is PHP, Apache, and MySQL. In theory this should take a huge strain off the server, and my visitors will experience faster loading times.

Don’t get offended and start attacking right off the bat when someone criticizes you or your product – it is much better to hear them out and take any suggestions they have on-board. In the end it all comes down to giving people what they want if you want to make money online. Basically you’re getting free feedback which allows you to improve and become better.

*If you want to know a little more about Cloud Front, Paul Stamatiou has written a review and how-to about it.

Who else likes to KISS?

Working at a customers office today, re-imaging a few new machines, I got the idea for this post. Basically a 2 hour job got stretched out to 6 hours, all because the companies procedure was not very straightforward – At all.

Some of you geeks might know how simple it can be to image a computer. You use a boot-up disc to connect to a server and deploy a certain image, or you might just have a ghost image on a usb drive. Whatever, it can all be done in less than 30 minutes, provided you have the right setup.

Now, the way the IT department has setup their re-imaging process, has become very complicated, all because they have added so many additional steps. Instead of the one boot disc and image, they have written all sorts of scripts that tie in with Windows AD (Active Directory), and create all sorts of user specific settings. Each machine needs their own personal boot disc created. The documentation to complete the process is over 65 pages long!

Right, I won’t bore you with any technical details, but I’ll tell you how this got me writing this post.

KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid

If you can do something quicker, without losing quality – Do it!

This goes for your blog posts too. If you have been writing and editing that one post for hours now – You’re doing it wrong. Remember that you are your own worst critic. Even though you will re-write and re-read your post endless times – your readers will read your post, only once!

Trust me, they will have so many emails and blog posts to read today, in a limited amount of time – no extra attention will be given to your post. They might leave a comment, and then they’re off. All in all, they’ve probably spent a maximum of five minutes on your blog.

To get to the point, keep your posts to the point. Short and sweet. Don’t be scared to hit the publish button. We can’t always write masterpieces (unless your name is Brian Clark) If you have more to say, why not create a series of articles? Rule of thumb; Keep your posts between 300-1000 words, and you keep most of us happy.

*Disclaimer – Wasn’t too sure about publishing this – but I figured I’d better practice what I preach!