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The Illusion of Failure

By: Michael Blankenship |

“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”

― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Happy Tuesday!

Did you know that it’s illegal to own just one guinea pig in Switzerland? It qualifies as animal abuse because, like us, guinea pigs are social animals that easily get lonely. 

Today’s email is made possible by an awesome podcast we recently discovered by Chris Hutchins: All The Hacks.

– Mike & Alec, Co-Founders of The Tonic

The Illusion of Failure

Failure is really just a misunderstanding. 

Imagine that you set out to hike a mountain. 

You’re nervous.

But excited. 

Only an hour into the hike, you twist your ankle and have to turn around.

Did you fail? 

No. You just hurt yourself. You need to go home, heal, and maybe get some better boots. Then you can try again in a few months. 

Take another scenario…

Half way up the mountain, you’re more tired than you expected. You look up and can’t see the peak. Your pace has slowed and you might not even be able to finish before nightfall. The mountain has exposed your naivety and your unpreparedness.

Discouraged, you turn around and go home. 

Did you fail? 

Well, only if you believe you failed. 

If you go home, learn from your mistakes, and try again in 6 months, then you definitely didn’t fail! In fact, that “failure” became an asset to your future success — a vital and necessary asset. 

Failure is an illusion. 

It’s not evidence of your inadequacy. 

It’s the lessons you need to learn to achieve your goals. 

This post is made possible by All The Hacks

Want to optimize every aspect of your life? 

Then check out All The Hacks podcast!

The host, Chris Hutchins, is a financial optimizer who loves doing all the research to get the best experience in life without the expensive price tag. He’s racked up over 10 million of points and miles, traveled to over 60 countries (mostly for free), and been an entrepreneur twice, co-founding Grove (acquired by Wealthfront) and Milk (acquired by Google).

Learn all the hacks to optimize and upgrade every aspect of your life while spending less and saving more. Chris is a life hacker who has saved millions by breaking down every aspect of life, looking to maximize happiness at the lowest cost.

Check it out!


Great books contain great truths. 

That’s what makes them great. 

And while hundreds of new books fly onto shelves in the self-help and personal development departments every year, timeless books remain. 

New is sexy. 

But books that stand the test of time deserve your attention — not just once, but over and over again. 

Books like…

Just like you catch new things when you re-watch a movie, or remember the lyrics to a song with repetition, important truths stick longer and delve deeper when you re-read them.

Pie in The Sky

Did you know that after 10 years, 65% of businesses fail? 

Or how about that only 1% of finished books get published? 

Or how about that the top 10% of Americans hold 70% of the countries wealth?

Knowing that, it would be easy to throw in the towel on those and similar pursuits. 

“Well… I’m not going to build a business or write a book or try and build wealth then!”

But macro information isn’t meant to be applied on a micro level.

The world is ending. We’re all going to die. Life isn’t fair…

You’ve still got to get out of bed every day and be kind, live with purpose, and work on things that are meaningful to you. 

In the words of Linda Cliatt-Wayman, “So what? Now what?”

Don’t get overwhelmed with a birds-eye view. Shrink your world back down to a manageable size. 

Today is here. 

You’re breathing. 

That alone is reason to have hope and work hard.

Extra Stuff

Here is some other stuff we found interesting this last week!

This Week’s Image

“Melissa Guerrero, a U.S. citizen of Mexican origin, wearing traditional wedding makeup and clothing, is prepared for her wedding ceremony in the village of Donje Ljubinje, near Prizren, Kosovo, on August 5, 2022.” via The Atlantic

This Week’s Riddle

Here’s this week’s riddle — the answer is at the bottom of the email!

Who spends the day at the window, goes to the table for meals, and hides at night?

He’s also not a particularly welcome dinner guest.

This Week’s Journaling Prompt

Take some time to think through the following journaling prompt. 

What’s a lie you’ve bought into that has held you back? Why is it now time to let go of believing that lie? 

This Week’s Challenge

Start re-reading a book that had a big impact on you. New might be sexy. But it’s the simple, powerful truths that need remembering. Repetition deepens on our understanding of those truths. 

Riddle Answer: A fly.

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