What you and I can learn from my huge heap of failure

Stacked in the corner of my office at home is an 18 inch high pile of failures.

They’re prototypes of “Nudge Your Way To Happiness”, which was actually titled “Plot Your Way To Happiness” in its first incarnation.

The early versions just weren’t right.

Someone were too complicated, others too superficial.

But by steadily refining the idea, I ended up with the book that will be on sale at the end of this month.

So although I may refer to them as failures, I’m actually pretty fond of them.


Over the years I’ve learned that planning to fail is a crucial, valuable part of any innovation project.

I think that if you believe you’ll get it right first time every time, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.

Ideas evolve.

Even The Beatles’ “Yesterday” was originally called “Scrambled Eggs” when Paul McCartney woke from a dream with its tune in his head.

And it’s said that James Dyson spent five years making 5,126 failed prototypes in order to develop the world’s first bagless vacuum cleaner. Now Dyson is the world’s best selling vacuum brand.

It’s unlikely that you and I will find everything goes our way today.

I think that’s kind of usual.

Perhaps, however, rather than cursing our luck when something doesn’t go right, it may help to reframe this into seeing that we’re now one step closer to the point where everything does actually work out.

As you may now know, “Nudge Your Way To Happiness” rates your wellbeing each day then directs you to a tailored mood nudge, appropriate to your current level of emotional and physical health.

When I trialled the concept with 23 Moodnudges readers last summer, I was encouraged to discover that the basic idea worked well.

That was good.

However, what didn’t work too well was the scoring system. People said it was unwieldy, and I suppose I might have judged this a failure.

But instead I focused 100% on simplifying the mechanics behind the test, making it easier to use.

And that was good too.

So don’t be disheartened by setbacks today.

Why not treat them as progression, not regression?

5 thoughts on “What you and I can learn from my huge heap of failure

  1. How right you are everything takes time to produce, when my husband was in the Pay Corp in the army 59/60’s the computer was in a huge room, they had to put carpet slippers on, walk in and not make a noise, gosh how the computer can now be tiny.
    How the present day Wife takes for granted the washing machine, in the old days they had to start by heating up the boiler before anything else (oh! forgot how did the water get into the boiler) what a job and the drying, we’ve had days of rain, poor devils, loads of children, doesn’t bare thinking about , what people went through to get where we are today, and we’re still not happy, something wrong somewhere, if only men would stop wars, it ‘s power that drives them on.
    Good on you Jon for not giving up, wish you success with your book.
    Anticipate Happiness and Happiness is yours
    Anticipate Success and Success is yours.

  2. “Nudge Your Way To Happiness” is proof that persistence pays! Thanks to you, Jon, the new ‘toolkit’ will help readers to deal with ever-shifting moods. Our own failures often seem to eclipse everything else that is positive in our lives but they can also provide the impetus to recalibrate and in the words of the proverb: ‘If at first you don’t succeed”, “to try, try and try again”. And J.K. Rowling had this to say: “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.” Go well.

  3. Keep on writing, perfect is just a concept. We can all improve. I also am a writer and my stories change and evolve in unexpected ways after each revision….it’s fun.

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