Success and Failure

How do You determine success? By guessing, by declaration or by measuring?

That might be no doubt for You on first sight, but in practice, I experience mostly habits located somewhere between silent assumption and measuring by the absence of trouble.

In fact, people do not know. The so called “leaders” as well as the people who contribute what they belief could be wanted.


You will not get the point when You do all the same for a longer period – let’s say more than 3 years.
You will not get the point, when You do things for the first time – ever and ever again.

You need to have comparison.
You need to have contrast.
You need to have a scale to rule against.

Some call this “horizon”.
It is the limit of the distance between You and as far You can see.
For some people the half-circle between them and their horizon has still a radius of 0.

/what is “success” and “failure” all about?

Thing is, “success” and “failure” are not that objective as many people think.
It is a judgement resulting from expectations, people should get clarity upon – ex-ante.

Success is meeting parameters, someone gave.
“A success will be getting at least five new customers.”

The direct opposite is a failure.
“We failed, if we could not manage to get at least five new customers.”
– sounds familiar?

Once You reached the goal, desires of efficiency instantly arise.
“We succeed only when we manage to get five customers a day.”
– sounds even more familiar?
Yes, it is the over the top maximized version of a success definition.
It suggests “otherwise, You will die!”; “succeed” and “survive” are pushed much closer together as real world justifies.
Not a good idea to enable (“motivate”) knowledge workers for getting ideas on smart solutions.

A better version would be a combination of achievement and next (greater) goals.
“Now as we found a way to win five new customers, we got an idea of what worked.
Let’s find a way to speed up a little more.
What do we need to do, to win additional five new customers
a month/ a week/ a day/ an hour/ a minute/ a second/ …”

The wording “speed up” is a strong indicator for switching over from finding direction (gaining effectivity) to optimization (improve efficiency).
But, every time You see the checkered flag, You need to reconsider “does it still make sense?”.
Do we really need to find five new customers a second? … but, that is another story.


Do not define from negative!

You can shape the polygonal solution area from inside (positive) and outside (negative).

/Is “success” the avoidance of “failure”?

Who cares about failure (definition from negative)?
You want to reach out to success. Don’t You?

Every success starts with a small step into Uncertainty.
– not with avoidance of an action You might never perform.

Once You know what works, You can extend to the limits.
You can realize all possible until You face the real impossible.
People can spend several lifetimes until they reach the outer limits of laws of physics.
And there are man made laws in addition.

There is a simple question, I learned from my valued fellow Ilja Preuss:
“What will You consider as a success?”


What do You consider as “success”?


By recording answer/s to that question, You create clarity in advance.
You create guidance for everybody.
If You do constant testing (i.e. in a Continuous Integration software development environment), by asking that question, You get Your testing parameters You can work against. Once they are fulfilled, You and everybody else know You succeeded.

By doing this, You change from individual belief about being successful to an objective proof You are.
You reduce, and hopefully eliminate, basis for future trouble.
Btw., You create documented and reproducible indication that generates certainty instead of unnecessarily keeping up Uncertainty.


Success is a man-made definition that declares a certain state to be success or failure.
Yes, it is (hard) work to define success-criteria in advance. But, it is worth it.
It generates clarity and eliminates unnecessary Uncertainty.

/be successful by certainty

Feel free to apply this new approach to success in Your personal private or work environment.
Observe what changes when You define from positive.

I also would like to get Your experiences shared with the world.
Feel free to use comment-function (below) or privately via contact.


If You like to evaluate this new approach in a secured training atmosphere first, You are welcome to book a one day workshop here.

You only need additional four people to get life’s full complexity in this.

Good news:
it’s the same price, whether there are five or ten participants.
You can save up to 50% participant’s fee by involving additional people who need it.


Life runs in circles. Some are smaller, some are bigger.
In the end, there is no end – only another beginning.

Enjoy, and share what You like. Feel free to make life great by that!

/resonance needed

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