Mittwoch, 26. April 2017

book review: bounce - Failure, Resiliency, and Confidence to Achieve Your Next Great Success

Barry J. Moltz: bounce - Failure, Resiliency, and Confidence to Achieve Your Next Great Success. John Wiley & Sons, 2008

Barry Moltz wrote a book for those who have not been successful without interruption, who have ventured something and failed. So, this book is for all of us. It is a book about failure, about resiliency and humility.

Moltz challenges a series of assumptions which are commonly taken for true.

First, we must define what success is. Generally, it is assumed that money = success = happiness. However, we can question this equation. Money needs not be the only measure of business success, even though others measure our success like this. Imagine that you get a lot of money for doing a bad job. Is this success?

Secondly, working hard not always leads to success. It might be nice as a motivational slogan, and there are many legends about people how worked hard and then finally succeeded. However: "THere are many more stories about people who tried and tried again, and never were able to succeed at their goal. We just don't hear about those." (p. 23)

Moltz presents many examples of one-hit-wonders, i.e. people who were successful only once in their life.
However, in a "failure is not an option" culture, failure is interpreted as a character flaw. If working hard always
leads to success, not succeeding means you have not tried hard enough. Such an attitude creates constant pressure, but not resiliency. But in fact, "success is guaranteed to no-one". Career paths rather are random walks. And "failure is far more common than success." Failure is a natural outcome in business, because it is inherently risky.

"If entrepreneurs knew the risk they are taking, there is no way they would start." (p. 142) We must not forget: "I'm not my business. A failed business or failed event does not make me a failure." (p. 110)

The solution Moltz recommends throughout his book is humility: "Have humility or have it bestowed upon you."
Contrary to others, he writes: "To develop true business confidence, humility is a very desirable and necessary
quality." "Humility means: you are not completely responsible for your success and your failures." "Humility makes you able to see, hear, intuit, and interpret information that will lead to better decision making, which gives you the confidence to stay resilient." (p. 74)

Humility is better than using illegal and unethical tactics as shortcut to success.

Thirdly: It is said that failure teaches us something. However, this is often not true.

Humility can help to not take too high a business risk. Because we know that we can not fully control the success.

Business includes the following risks: financial risk, opportunity (while we do one thing, we can not do something else), health, famility and reputation. Being aware of these risks makes us better risk takers.
"When is the reward not worth the risk? This is the case when you are unable to survive a loss or failure - when you are betting so much of your resources (money, energy, reputation, or whatever) on one shot that if you miss it this one time you are out of the game." (p. 148)

Fourthly: We must define ourselves what success is. We must follow our own dreams. However: "We are so afraid of failure and of truly testing ourselves that we conveniently (or maybe lazily) adapt to someone else's dream. But there is no shame in surrendering dreams that were thrust upon us when we were young. We need to develop our own dreams, based on who we are and what we want to achieve. Still, quitting can be a lot harder sometimes than keeping on. For better or worse, many of us were taught not to be quitters - taught that quitters are losers and that winners gon't give up." (p. 169) "It is almost always a lot harder to quit than to keep going." (p. 175)
Moltz recommends to define our own goals and success criteria before we start: "Firstly, by defining success before we start, we can celebrate it when it occurs. Second, we will remember what success is supposed to mean. Too many times, when success becomes seemingly easy or quick, we grow greedy and want to push a particular process well past its intended outcomes." (p. 171)
"A lack of patience and need for immediate gratification leads us to rely on the archetypes of success. Many times, this puts the ego in the lead, forces humility to go underground, raises the fear of immediate failure, and makes us take unnecessary risks. We give up our bounces." (p. 174f)

In summary, Moltz defines ten building locks for true business confidence:
  1. Environment: We are shaped by our environment and must choose it well.
  2. Humility: Use humility to right-size your ego.
  3. Face the fear of failure: It is OK to be afraid. If you can handle the potential outcome, act.
  4. In failure, give up the shame
  5. Failure gives a choice: After failure, you can start something else.
  6. More effective risk taking: Improve your decision making by examining the risk. Take only the risks you want.
  7. Process trumps outcome: Business is not about success or failure, but about learning cycles.
  8. Setting patient goals for success and failure: Create your own dreams and define your goals.
  9. A measurement system of your own: With what, besides money, will you measure your success.
  10. Value action: Experience builds confidence.
This book is worth reading, because it is far more useful and realistic than the positive-thinking esoterical business nonsense distributed by people who earn their living by producing hot air. And it is also more helpful than those books written by people having been successful and then guessing which of what they did or thought was guaranteeing this success.

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