Don’t Talk Yourself Into Failure

I was listening to an interview on the podcast The Tim Ferriss Show with Hugh Jackman. The entire interview (it’s 1 hour and 41 minutes long) is fantastic. However, there was one section in particular that is life advice that I need to work to live by.

Around 1:15 in the podcast Hugh starts talking about when he went to work on the movie The Greatest Showman. He works with a life coach and she had this advice for him:

“I think you’re preparing to choke. I think you are laying the safety net for The Greatest Showman to not work, and you are thinking up all the reasons outside of yourself why it won’t work, and you have 24 hours to get on or get off, but if you’re on, you have to be 100% in.”

Hugh then goes on to talk about the language of setting yourself up for failure. Phrases where you basically pre-build excuses why it won’t work or you won’t succeed. “I’m going to give it a go, I’m going to give it my best,” and specific to him, “musicals are really hard, original musicals are nearly impossible…”

I think that Wolverine might have been speaking to me. I want to apply for another job onboard the ship. It’s one I would not only be good at but have the educational background for. My experience for it is a bit underwhelming but I found some online courses that I think would give my application an edge – but, as great as it sounds, I still haven’t signed up for the online course.

Two years of not getting hired for this job or that job onboard has kicked my self esteem down. The thing about the job I want to apply for is it’s not an entry level job – it’s one of the higher ranking jobs onboard. Even though I have the education, even though I am certainly capable of it, my brain keeps pre-building excuses as to why I wouldn’t get the job. I keep using the language that makes failure acceptable: “I am under qualified.” “The cruise lines wouldn’t even look at an application right now.” “I will make a fool of myself.”

Changing your mindset around your own success is hard. The reason that successful people continue to be successful is that they exude success in such a way that it is nearly palpable. I am capable of this but yet my mind brings me to this timid place where not succeeding is somehow not just an option but nearly the expectation.

The recommendation from this interview (or well, what he did) was to sit down and think about why you are trying to do what you’re trying to do, to imagine your success, and then write it down. He goes on to say that he then wrote that down every single day until The Greatest Showman happened. To go from a place where failure is acceptable and possible to one where you will succeed. Getting your brain to the point where it uses that language. Where there is no doubt that not only will The Greatest Showman get made, but I will get the job. (I’m sure that the famous movie star had my job application in mind…)

So, starting today! Yes, today! There is no better time for the present – I am going to think long and hard about my goals, I am going to write them down. Then every day I will write them down, I will put the work in, and then, by the time I go to apply for the job, I will exude success in spades. I will exude success in such a way that even in the largest cruise ship shut down in history and in sight of the catastrophic economic situation I will succeed!

Did you see what I did there? That last sentence was literally built with failure in mind. Like, hey, if I don’t get it it’s because the entire industry was shut down! It has nothing to do with me! Changing that language (especially if you are as naturally sarcastic as I am) is hard, but doable. Challenge yourself to change the language of failure in your own life.

So, I am going to try to be like this guy… what do we think, should I get the costume?

Note: Cover photo credit to my friend Gee.

3 thoughts on “Don’t Talk Yourself Into Failure

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