Even the Most Successful People Fail (You Just Don’t Know It)

Yesterday I said that benchmarking is one of the mental challenges founders face. Then today I read this:

Anyone you see succeeding is only succeeding at the things you’re paying attention to—I guarantee they are also failing at lots of other things.”
~Ray Dalio

I like this quote because it’s a reminder of why we shouldn’t benchmark ourselves against others. We often don’t have (or aren’t paying attention to) the full picture. Selective comparisons disregard the reality that failure is likely part of their story. The truth is that failure is more common than we like to admit. Even when it seems that someone is wildly successful, they’re probably failing too. And that’s OK.

Benchmarking is a mental trap that’s common among founders (and people in general). And probably more so now, in the Information Age, than ever before. (We can find out a lot about people’s successes on the web and social media—but much less about their failures.)

Try to avoid this trap. Instead of measuring yourself against an incomplete picture of someone else, pay closer attention to your own situation. Give yourself credit for your success and make it a point to not only learn from your failures but apply what you learn to future decisions. This will help you succeed, while benchmarking yourself against others will depress you. That’s not conducive to success!