Episode #576 Scott Adams: How to Fail at Almost Everything & Still Win Big

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Moe and Dilbert creator, Scott Adams discuss the story of Scotts life - from failure to fame.


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Scott Adams

Creator of the Dilbert comic strip View Full Profile

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big

Scott Adams is the quintessential overnight success story.  He’s been relentlessly working on his craft since 1989, he’s drawn over 9000 comic strips, and he’s failed many more times than he’s succeeded - still for him, success is a deliberate strategy of ‘managing his opportunities in a way that would make it easier for luck to find him.’  To the world, Adams is the face behind the legendary cartoon - Dilbert - whose voice echoes the sentiments of countless knowledge workers who’s opinion goes unnoticed every day.  

Living at the outskirts of Silicon Valley, Adams is certainly a product of his environment, and as you’ll notice in his new book, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, his path to superstardom is both bold and unconventional.  For starters, Adams doesn’t believe in setting goals, is convinced that ‘passion is bullshit’, and is someone who’s addicted to being active.  Although his mantra is to fail intelligently, his approach to improving his odds may surprise you.

10 Inspirational Moments from Scott Adams

1.  Think twice before you follow your passion - for, it’s your success that’s igniting that passion not the other way around.  

2.  Success is subjective and highly personal - still your most important priority each day is to do something that will improve your odds.

3.  Every skill you acquire doubles your odds of success - Think of psychology, public speaking, writing, and communication as your superpowers.

4.  Get comfortable with doing a lot of little experiments - early signs of success will emerge from a small subset of people, not the masses.

5.  When you fail intelligently, you always pick up new skills and relationships that leave you smarter.

6.  Your personal energy is the best predictor of success - Get your body functioning at its peak, and watch your productivity soar.

7.  Replace your willpower with diet with knowledge - never stop learning about how to optimize your fitness and nutrition.

8.  Get addicted to being active - and to avoid burnout, be no more active than the amount that makes you feel good.

9.  Stop setting goals - instead, think more broadly by putting systems in place that will take you from lower odds to better ones.

10.  Next time you get rejected or fail at something - Raise your sights and make a bigger bet.

Reflect:  What did you do this week to improve your odds of success?