Tag: think big


by Joe Barnes


Mind Set


Date: Jun 17, 2024


A couple of weeks ago, I finished reading Arnold Schwarzenegger’s new book Be Useful: 7 Tools For Life

What I’m about to write is by no means a parody of that work. In fact, I thought the book was good and Arnold Schwarzenegger has consistently been one of my greatest inspirations. (You can read my appraisal of his unique mindset by clicking here). 

However, after reading his book, I had an idea. 

What if, instead of giving positive life advice, I was to create a list of 7 things you should do if you want to fail?

Why would anyone want to fail, you may ask?

Of course, nobody does. However, if by reading the following list, you become aware of what will cause you to fail then it’ll be an important addition to the powerful advice in Arnold’s book. 

So, without further ado, here are the 7 tools for failure. 


1. Doubt Yourself

When you’ve got your sights set on failure, nothing helps you achieve this objective quite like being unsure of yourself and what you’re doing. 

I used to doubt myself all the time. 

Initially, I didn’t think I could make it as a writer. All I heard were stories of it being virtually impossible to become a published author or make money from selling books.

As a result, I thought you had to be born with exceptional talent to succeed and doubted my skills, experience and ideas would be good enough. 

The outcome of this self-doubt?

I wasted 5 years of my life procrastinating over a book idea I was passionate about but too scared to pursue. 

The self-doubt virus also spread to my work as a hypnotherapist. 

I qualified at the age of 24 and started seeing clients at 25. 

As a new hypnotherapist, I doubted my ability, believing I was too young for older clients to take seriously. 

The outcome of this doubt?

I created a self-fulfilling prophecy. In a job where confidence is everything, my lack of it was abundantly clear and few clients came back for a second session (unlike today). 

Self-doubt completely stunted my professional and personal development and it’ll do the same to you.

Far better to back yourself in every situation, even to the point of being slightly delusional, than sabotage yourself with timidity. 


2. Overthink Everything 

When aiming to fail, it’s always best to paralyse yourself with endless thoughts about what you should do. 

When I began my career as a writer, back in 2012, sales were slow. 

It took well over a year to sell the first 100 copies of my book which, at the time, was called Screw The System

Looking to give my flagging sales a boost, I bought a course on how to sell books on Amazon. In this course, the creator stressed the importance of a book’s title. Along with the cover, these were the two most important factors when it came to book sales. 

So, I got it into my head that Screw The System wasn’t a good title for a self-help book.  However, rather than immediately changing the title, I spent two years thinking over the options and wondering whether I should take this step (eventually changing the title to Escape The System in 2015). 

Can you see the problem here?

I wasted an inordinate amount of time deliberating over the change. I would frequently engage in mental debates where I went backwards and forwards over the pros and cons of each option. However, rather than provide clarity, this just left me more confused. 

This experience reveals one of the most perverse laws regarding the way in which our minds operate. 

The more you think about something, the more confused you’ll become. 

Let that sink in for a moment. 

Clarity is gained through having an idea, briefly considering it and then putting it to the test. 

The world will then tell you whether you were wrong or right (and if you were wrong, you can always correct your mistake). 

Think fast, act fast. 


3. Stay In Your Comfort Zone

If you want to fail, you should allow fear to stop you from doing anything that feels uncomfortable. 

I once had a hypnotherapy client who allowed anxiety to dominate her life. 

I tried to explain that testing the limits of her comfort zone would enable her to adapt to new experiences and cause the anxiety to subside once she became accustomed to the change. 

She wasn’t having any of it. 

She believed in the importance of her fears and listened to them all the time. As a result, as time went on, there was less and less she could do (as virtually everything became out of her comfort zone). 

It got to the point where she struggled to go on holiday, couldn’t contact organisations that might offer help (for fear of rejection) and even struggled to read her favourite books (in case she lost the enjoyment of reading which was one of her few dwindling pleasures in life). 

Don’t stay in your comfort zone if you want to succeed. 

Instead, understand that by frequently facing your fears, you enlarge your comfort zone until there are few environments in which you can’t operate. 


4. Think Like Everyone Else

Technically, this isn’t a tool for failure (more a tool for mediocrity). Think like everyone else and you can still enjoy a secure and comfortable life. However, if you aspire to live an extraordinary, or authentic, life, then being mediocre might classify as a failure. 

Michael Jackson once said, “We can fly, you know. We just don’t know how to think the right thoughts and levitate off the ground.”

Crazy, right?


However, it’s exactly this type of thinking that led him to create the greatest selling album of all time. 

Michael Jackson didn’t think like other people. He lived in a realm where anything was possible. When other musicians and industry insiders told him to expect Thriller to do roughly the same as his previous album, Off The Wall, he ignored their input. 

His horizons were broader and this enabled him to conceive of an album (and everything that went with it – music videos, performances etc) that EVERYBODY would have to own.  

This is what can happen when you have “unrealistic” expectations. You give your subconscious the permission to find answers and solutions that nobody else will look for, and it responds.

So, keep thinking like everyone else if you want a relatively easy, relatively dull, life. Don’t you dare think big or have any grandiose dreams. 


5. Give Free Reign To Your Impulses 

If you want to fail on achieving your goals, give in to your impulsive feelings. 

Lacking the motivation to work on your new business when you get home from your regular job? Then just binge watch a Netflix series for a couple of hours. 

Experiencing chocolate cravings a few hours before your evening meal? Give in to them and have a snack. 

A client annoys you over what could be a misunderstanding? Express your anger and lose their business. 

Controlling your impulses won’t come naturally. They’ll scream to be acknowledged and acted upon. However, this is what weak people do. 

In most cases, you must resist the almost overwhelming urge to do as your body tells you. In time, you’ll master your base desires and achieve a tremendous sense of peace. 

In As A Man Thinketh, James Allen wrote, “You will become as small as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration.” 

Don’t give in to your impulses. 


6. Attempt To Control Every Outcome 

If you want to fail again and again, then try to force through whatever it is you want to achieve. 

You don’t win in life by being a dosser. Success or love or wealth isn’t going to fall into your lap. You’ll have to work for it and you’ll have to exert effort. 

That being said, attempting to force your body, your boyfriend or girlfriend, your clients or the market to do what you desire, can be as futile as doing nothing at all. 

You’ve got to get the balance right. 

The person who micro manages every scenario and fusses over the tinniest details isn’t displaying confidence in their ability to succeed. In fact, it’s the opposite. Underneath their controlling behaviour is a deep-seated fear they’ll fail. 

The people who can let go of their need to control are those ones who believe in themselves and their chances for success. They KNOW that they’re good enough and, as a result, don’t need to worry about individual dominoes falling into place. 


7. Blame External Factors For Your Situation 

If you want to remain stuck in life, blame everybody, and everything, for your misfortunes. 

External factors are always going to exist and yes, they do, sometimes, prevent you from achieving your aim. However, if you take a deep enough look at yourself and your actions, over the span of decades, you’ll be able to identify a moment where you caused the failure or misfortune you’re currently experiencing. 

In Game 5 of the 1997 NBA finals, Michael Jordan was struck down with flu-like symptoms. Completely drained, he looked lost during the first quarter. 

At this point, he had every reason to sit out the rest of the game. 

However, despite feeling like shit, he battled on to score 38 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists, helping his team win. 

How did he play on when most people would have blamed external factors and accepted defeat?

Being able say, “Well, I could have won it/done it if it wasn’t for X,” didn’t give him any solace. 


Reach this level of determination and there’s no external factor that can stop you.  



If you want to discover a passion you can make a living from and overcome the fears that are holding you back, check out my free course 30 Days to Escape The SystemClick here to get the course right now! (You’ll find the tips on developing belief and self-confidence fascinating!) 


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