James Clear has an excellent article on what he calls the 3 Stages of Failure.

In it, he differentiates between tactical failures, strategic failures, and failures of vision:

Stage 1 is a Failure of Tactics. These are HOW mistakes. They occur when you fail to build robust systems, forget to measure carefully, and get lazy with the details. A Failure of Tactics is a failure to execute on a good plan and a clear vision.

Stage 2 is a Failure of Strategy. These are WHAT mistakes. They occur when you follow a strategy that fails to deliver the results you want. You can know why you do the things you do and you can know how to do the work, but still choose the wrong what to make it happen.

Stage 3 is a Failure of Vision. These are WHY mistakes. They occur when you don’t set a clear direction for yourself, follow a vision that doesn’t fulfill you, or otherwise fail to understand why you do the things you do.

Highlighting this nuance is incredibly insightful. Knowing what’s holding you back is the first step to moving forward.

But I think Clear is missing a stage of failure here: Failures of Circumstance.

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Many of us agree I can’t is one of the worst phrases in the English language.

But how many of us have spent enough time developing the resilience to say I can even after we fail time and time again?

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We’ve all heard that setbacks are opportunities.

Think of setbacks as learning opportunities is a useful trope, albeit a tired one.

But there’s little good advice about how to recover quickly from a setback.

Here are a few tactics that work for me:

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It’s strange how we’ve repositioned vacation as a career necessity.

What used to be about personal wellbeing morphed into another way to optimize your work. Vacations, the argument goes, help you refocus, increase productivity, and even cause a measurable boost to your long-term salary prospects.

These are all fair points. But after taking a week-long vacation to Mexico, I’m convinced those aren’t the really important benefits.

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If I only knew then what I know now.

When you’re learning a new skill, it can be tempting to dive right in. It’s always more fun to play with the new tool than read about it how others are using it.

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Sometimes success is about that sudden moment of insight. The brilliant idea you wake up with in the middle of the night. The vision that comes in a flash.

More often, though, success is about persistence.

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I was out sick for over a week my freshman year of high school.

I was worried about all the classes and activities I was missing. Track practice. The biology test. The lines I was supposed to have memorized for the school play.

The day I got back to school, my math teacher gave me some important advice I wouldn’t understand until much later:

You’ll never catch up. And that’s okay.

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Everyone knows that many little steps add up to something big. But that rarely makes it easier to get started.

We often procrastinate out of fear.

Is this the right decision? Will this be worth it? What if I change my mind?

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Forming new healthy habits is often far easier than replacing old ones. It’s much easier to start doing a 2-minute morning workout than it is to stop biting your nails.

One of my favorite tricks here is habit replacement. Take a negative habit and replace it with something positive or innocuous.

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Sometimes it’s important to take a few minutes and celebrate your victories. I had a chance to celebrate a few personal victories in my January Goal Update. Hitting so many of my goals felt great.

But once you’re done celebrating, it’s time to use that momentum to reach the next goal.

My posts so far have been a bit disorganized. For the most part, I’m fine with that. There’s value to the writing itself. But I do want to take the momentum I’ve built writing every day and turn it into something bigger.

So I’ve started working on something a bit bigger. Ditching Bootstrap was the first part of something new that I’ll be launching in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.

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