After Scott Adams linked my blog and said some very nice things, I figured it was time I read his book How to Fail at Everything and Still Win Big: The Kind of Story of My Life.
Scott’s book speaks from personal experience. The advice he gives is clear, actionable, and told through humorous and inspiring stories.
Since the test of any book on self-development is the change it inspires, I’d like to highlight the two concepts from the book – one which I was following, and one which illuminated something new.
Always Be Learning New Skills
In his book, Scott Adam’s suggests that every new skill you learn doubles your chance of success. You don’t even have to be great at each skill.
By his own admission, Scott is not the world’s best artist, writer, or comedian – but the combination of those skills lead to Dilbert. Add business skills, and a knowledge of persuasion and hypnosis, and it’s easy to see why Scott Adam’s has reached the level he has.
This lesson was affirming for me, because I have spent a lot of time pursing special interests that seem like they have nothing to do with my career, yet are now applying to my work. One has become a feature length documentary currently in post-production, and another is becoming a screenplay.
In Scott’s view, no activity is a failure as long as your gain new skills from it, and build the systems that will eventually lead to success.
Energy is the Metric to Measure By
Biggest new lesson I got from Scott Adam’s book is make choices that maximize your person energy.
A mental light-bulb went off when I read:
The main reason I blog is because it energizes me. I could rationalize my blogging by telling you it increases traffic on Dilbert.com by 10 percent or that it keeps my mind sharp or that I think the world is a better place when there are more ideas in it. But the main truth is that blogging charges me up. It gets me going. I don’t need another reason.
This is the reason I blog as well. It’s the reason we do most things. Making art gives us energy.
Reading this, I realized there were activities I’d been postponing because I didn’t consider them “real work” or didn’t think they would pay off. In avoiding doing them, I was actually draining my energy AND not getting them done.
Now, I indulge that voice that calls me to do something just because it energizes me to follow it. Ironically, it’s these pursuits that have lead to the biggest gains.
To maximize your energy, Scott suggests establishing healthy habits – diet and exercise – that rely on systems, not willpower.
This personal energy metric offers a new perspective on how to approach the day – everything from batch-prepping meals, to exploring new hobbies and skills.
Curing the Incurable & Affirmations
In addition to the above advice, Scott Adams shares very personal stories about how he nearly lost his drawing hand, and his voice.
I won’t spoil how Scott overcame two “incurable” career-ending medical conditions, but between that and the chapter on affirmations, I’ve got new inspiration for a few “impossible” intentions of my own.
Highlighted in my copy is:
The pattern I noticed is that the affirmations only worked when I had 100 percent unambiguous desire for success.
I’ve got at least one such affirmation I’m working with. Wish me luck.
Saying Thank You
One last piece of social advice from Scott Adam’s book – say thank you. Thank you goes a long way.
So, as I sit here eating a some vegetarian food cooked two day’s earlier to ensure I have healthy habits, writing a blog post that gives me energy, with work open in another window that will teach me new skills, it’s worth saying – thank you Scott, for writing a great book that’s already inspiring positive changes.
If you could see yourself as someone interested in having healthy habits, learning new skills, and doing activities that bring you energy, this book belongs on your shelf.
P.S. After you finish Scott Adam’s book, check out his Persuasion Reading List, to discover how to communicate what you’ve learned. I’ve met at least one author on that list. They’re the real deal. Worth reading.
You can get How to Fail at Everything and Still Win Big: The Kind of Story of My Life by Scott Adams on Amazon here.