10 min read…
If you are new here, this is the 8th episode of our book series – The Book Talk. Check our other blogs here. In this episode, we’ll discuss How to fail at almost everything and still win big by Scott Adams.
Scott Adams is a cartoonist and the creator of Dilbert comics. This book is as comprehensive as it can get, with actionable advice from all fronts – dieting, exercising, organizing, finding your talent, starting conversations, affirmations, pattern recognition, essential skills, happiness – and it is one of my favorites.
With well-rounded concepts, this is a perfect cookbook that presents some new ways to think about finding happiness and success.
Here are my five takeaways that would launch you swiftly towards success.
- Essential Skills
- Goals vs Systems
1. Everything begins with Diet
Enough has been written about the role of good food and exercise in a rich lifestyle. We are all aware of the cause & effect of our dietary choices. You know overeating makes you feel bloated or spicy food causes a runny nose. These are obvious and hard to miss.
But you don’t track your mood changes, problem-solving ability, and energy levels in relation to what you eat. Your mood is a function of chemistry in your body, and food may be a far more dominant contributor to your chemistry than what is happening around you, at least during a normal day.
One easy way to eat better is to avoid simple carbs such as white bread, potatoes, and white rice. Eat anything that is not a simple carb and keep on the path for a few months. This way, you’ll have more energy, and your cravings will reduce.
2. Exercise. Say no more.
To condense the entire field of fitness advice into one sentence: be active every day. It sounds ridiculously easy, but keeping it simple is key to form an exercise habit. Any form of exercise that requires willpower is unsustainable.
When you take willpower out of the equation and achieve a solid baseline of daily physical activity, you would be more inclined to gradually increase your workout. You’ll do it because it will feel good & easy.
3. Essential skills everyone should acquire
‘It matters what you practice.’
There’s no denying the importance of practice, but the hard part is finding what to practice. Every useful skill you learn doubles your chances of success. Everything you learn becomes a shortcut for understanding something else.
Unless you are one of the best performers in the world at a specific skill, you’re better off being good at two complementary skills than being excellent at one.
4. Happiness is the only useful goal in life
Happiness is a feeling you get when your body chemistry produces pleasant sensations in your mind. Our own happiness depends on being good to others.
“Science demostrates that happiness is independent of your circumstances.”
You can control 80% of your body chemistry through your lifestyle, which in turn causes positive thoughts, leading to happiness.
The single biggest trick to manipulate happiness is to create an environment where you can do what you want when you want. Contrast that with our common schedule. Most of us do what we want, but don’t have the luxury of picking our timings.
So, in your personal life and career, consider “scheduling flexibility” when you make any big decisions. Sometimes we got to work long hours, it’s inevitable. But, in the long run, work towards maximizing your ‘freedom of scheduling’.
The five big factors of happiness are:
Flexible-schedule | Exercise | Diet | Sleep | Imagination
This is not an exhaustive list. We might also want to add fame, sex, recognition, a feeling of importance, money, and lots more. But, these five big factors would act as a magnet for attracting other components.
5. Goals are for losers
System-driven people find success more often than people focusing on setting goals. We could argue some sort of a goal is necessary to achieve a target and everyone who pursues a goal has some sort of a system to achieve it. This argument is valid.
If we study people who succeed, we will notice that most of them follow systems, not goals. Consider Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook. He had a system of studying hard, getting into a top college, and developing a skill-set with technology that virtually guaranteed success in today’s world.
Even if he had not created Facebook, he would likely be a millionaire through some other start-up or by being a highly paid tech genius in a corporation, because Zuckerberg’s system was guaranteed to work.
Warren Buffett’s system for investing involves buying undervalued companies and holding on to them forever, or at least until something major changes. This system has been a winner for decades.
“People who seem to have good luck are often the people who have a system that allows luck to find them.”
No career guide can offer advice for success that works for everyone. Our best bet is to study the ways of others who made it big and try to learn some tricks and strategies.
Adam shares what he learned for turning one failure after another into something good and lasting. I hope his transformation from a hapless office worker and serial failure to the creator of one of the world’s most famous syndicated comic strips would inspire you enough to read this book.
We hope you liked this post. What is your ONE takeaway from this book?
– Kavi & Ninja
Design credits: Canva