Learning is the foundation of the human experience.
But, 99% of people do it wrong.
Not because they don’t know how to learn, but because they have forgotten how to learn.
We are talking about true learning here.
For the sake of this letter, things like memorization, knowledge hoarding, and parroting will not be considered learning.
Learning is a byproduct of experience.
The human experience contains more than just words.
It is a spectrum of feelings, lights, sounds, tastes, and other distinctions that form a single perspective. Like a snapshot in time. A figment of present moment consciousness that passed in less than a millisecond.
Words are a layer over reality.
Reality is composed of symbols, metaphors, and energy that we have labeled in order to understand what we hold in our attention as a human being.
Where does learning come into play?
The things that everyone shys away from, rather than embracing.
Why do we shy away from it? Because we don’t understand what failure is. Why else would you be afraid of it? We don’t have the full picture, the full perspective. Which can only be found through failure itself. Do you see where I’m going with this?
Since learning demands failure, understand that this letter is written for the sake of awareness. You cannot act on what you are unaware of, and if this letter makes you aware of the importance of failure, my job is done. The rest is in your hands. I cannot fail for you.
Knowing that people hate what they don’t understand, failure is an automatic, unconscious, and pre-programmed “hate” for many people.
The first step to true learning is changing your perception of failure.
That is, not judging, assuming, or expecting it not to be there. Failure is a low-frequency energy source. When tapped into with focus (bringing that energy into your conscious awareness), the associated feeling manifests in your being and you label that energy as “good” or “bad.”
Failure exists. Meaning, if you don’t fix your potentially programmed relationship with it, procrastination and lack of fulfillment will rule your life.
Why do we have to fail, struggle, and embrace challenge to truly learn?
Because when you are in a “bad” state of consciousness from struggle, your mind is primed to receive a lesson. It is open to receive a solution, internalize it, and lock that learning in for next time.
Meaning, you have to directly experience the perspective that comes from struggle (resistance), to bring the opposing end (breakthrough) into existence.
That perspective is found at the bottom. The feelings associated with it are not something to shy away from.
The Portfolio Of Failures
There seems to be a threshold of failures that every successful person goes through.
That is, there is a set amount of failures that one must encounter when pursuing a specific goal before they learn what it actually takes to succeed.
I personally failed at 7+ different business models before making my first $1000.
“Dan, would you go back and change anything if you could?”
That’s always an interesting question to be asked, as it implies that you want the one “secret” to avoiding failure and remaining comfortable, when failure is the secret.
Knowing what I know now, no. I wouldn’t go back and change anything. If I did, I would have to fail again, go through the cycle, and end up in the same exact place.
If I didn’t fail at creating a design, I wouldn’t have studied methods for making the design better. Which lead to creating a digital art page on Instagram.
If I didn’t fail at the digital art page, I wouldn’t have studied web design. Which lead to multiple freelancing endeavors.
If I didn’t fail at freelancing, I wouldn’t have studied branding, copywriting, and social media. Which lead to failed ecommerce brands.
If I didn’t fail at ecommerce, I wouldn’t have gotten a web design job. Which lead to success in freelancing, pivoting to social media, and being consistent until now.
By the end of it, I had an entire arsenal of lessons refined through struggle to make anything I want to pursue work.
This is a pattern that can be seen in any “self-made” success. Self-made meaning that they didn’t inherit the money. Go listen to an origin story podcast of any of your favorite people and they will tell you the same story. Failure is unavoidable, necessary, and the closest thing to “get rich quick” that you will find.
Success, in any endeavor, is a process of investing in your portfolio of failures until there is nothing else to fail at. That is, until your investments compound and you can afford to succeed.
Mid Koe Letter Plug: If you want to learn from my failures, readers can join Modern Mastery for $5. There are 180+ strategies that you can test, fail, and build your portfolio of failures faster with.
How To Fail Happily: The Intersection Of The Known & Unknown
Humans find meaning in stories.
Stories are how we make sense of the world.
Without us knowing it, our unconscious mind will “fill in the blanks” of anything we perceive.
When you approach a new person, why do you get anxious? Because your mind has already determined the outcome.
When you do one specific thing, like the same exercises in the gym for too long, why do you get bored? Because your mind already knows what to do.
Life is a game containing an infinite number of games.
The games you choose to play will determine the results you get from winning those games.
What’s the catch?
Games imply a possibility to fail.
Moreso, when you start playing a new game consistently, you are going to “fail” more often. You don’t go from level 1 to 100 by winning every single match.
The masculine wants to feel the bliss of a life lived at the edge, and if he doesn’t have the balls to do it himself, he’ll watch it on TV, in sporting events and cop shows. — David Deida
Games are exciting. They are structured stories that you actively play. This is how you find meaning in life: by becoming obsessed with the games that lead to fulfilling results.
Regarding the quote, don’t get “the masculine” mixed up as male or female. Everyone has a masculine and feminine edge. It is a form of energy that displays different characteristics throughout reality, not only in humans.
The point is that to pursue more, conquer, and the benefits that come from winning a battle is masculine.
Men and women alike, especially as women take on more masculine activities thanks to technology solving certain problems (and vice versa for men), everyone can:
- Climb the corporate ladder
- Build businesses around their interests
- Compete in challenging athletic competitions
To think that a man can or should be 100% masculine, or that a woman can or should be 100% feminine is silly. Every person has a balance to be kept within themselves. A majority of men are tilted toward the masculine and vice versa for women.
I’ll leave this topic for another day, but the world is blending together. Collapsing into oneness, some may predict. I don’t care what people identify as, I simply like to observe and piece things together (and not let it make me angry enough to base my identity around destroying those things).
I thrive when building (m), but know when it’s time to let loose and celebrate (f). Order and chaos. Metaphorical, not literal.
When its hot, you cool down. When it’s cold, you warm up. Some people like being warm most of the time, some cold. When men have a big business win, they celebrate over a beer. Balance.
The point being, to live a fulfilling life, the masculine balance in each individual needs to be kept by engaging in battle. That is, playing a game. There needs to be suspense. And even if you don’t identify as having a “masculine edge,” neglecting that aspect of your being is not wise.
When all a person’s relevant skills are needed to cope with the challenges of a situation, that person’s attention is completely absorbed by the activity. There is no excess psychic energy left over to process any information but what the activity offers. All the attention is concentrated on the relevant stimuli. — Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
A battle takes place on a battlefield.
A game is played with a certain set of rules.
Any real-life situation presents an environment with certain known and unknown variables.
If you don’t know how to play the game, it won’t be fun. You will get anxious.
A noobie in the gym isn’t going to try to deadlift 400 pounds. He embraces the challenge of his current strength and is excited to progress over the coming months.
If you are too good at the game, it also won’t be fun. You will get bored.
A grandmaster at chess may find enjoyment in the challenge that comes from teaching a beginner, but playing against one? Boring. The grandmaster’s skills must be tested for him to kick into flow. For his attention to be immersed in the goal he is pursuing.
Comfort is found in the known.
Discomfort is found in the unknown.
Fulfillment is found at the edge.
I am sure this is a portion of what the ancients speak of when explaining “no mind” or “non-duality.”
A state of consciousness that resembles what modern psychologists have coined as “flow.”
What does this have to do with failure?
You can enjoy failing more often by pursuing the right goal.
One that isn’t so far away that you get lost in the unknown, but one that isn’t so close that you get bored.
And at the same time, recognized for it’s value.
A question before we come to an end:
Is your vision valuable enough to you?
That is, have you internalized, appreciated, and thought with depth about how actualizing that vision will spill over into your life?
Is financial freedom worth 10 years of failure? What’s the other option if not? Is THAT worth 10 years of struggle?
Repeat that sequence of questions. Swap “financial freedom” for anything good. Things that cannot be outsourced or given to you like:
- Your physique and energy levels
- The brand you develop over your lifetime
- Mastering your craft and how you move in the world
Write it out. Contemplate your future on a walk. Let your vision become clear with time. It doesn’t come in an instant.
Sit with it.
You Don’t Need More Advice
Asking for advice is outsourcing your ability to act and figure it out for yourself.
(Asking for advice is not the same as getting specific information for what you are currently acting on, that’s called education, another thing that takes decades).
Look back up at the graphic.
You already know what you need to be executing on.
You need to push to the edge of the known, challenge yourself, get a taste of the unknown, and invest in your education about the things you truly don’t know (and when they are the most applicable).
“Should I start a business?”
“Should I go to the gym?”
“Should I ask that person on a date?”
If I told you “yes,” would you learn anything? What about if I told you “no?”
If you listened to either of thos, you wouldn’t find the answer in the unknown for yourself. You may waste 2-3 years because someone told you not to do something rather than trying it and figuring out for yourself.
Build, create, challenge yourself, try everything, and figure it out.
That’s what humans do.
– Dan Koe
What Happened This Week
A new podcast went out about writing as a meta skill that everyone should learn.
A YouTube video went live about why people can’t make money doing their own thing.
On Wednesday I will be posting how I create Instagram carousels from my tweets (and how to post those carousels to LinkedIn for more engagement).
When you’re ready, you can find more free and paid resources below for building yourself and your business.