The Call to Adventure, Part 6: Struggle Well and Fail Better

(In Part 6 of the Capture Higher Ed blog series, The Call to Adventure, Capture Higher Ed’s Sean Hill discusses Ray Dalio’s eighth and final principle of success —”Struggle Well and Fail Better.” Be sure to check out the previous five installments of the series: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5.)

  1. Struggle Well and Fail Better

Here’s something simple and straightforward said by Nobel Prize-winning playwright Samuel Beckett: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” How do you “fail better”? By learning from your mistakes — and recognizing your own weaknesses. Then take another risk — you may fail bigger, but you’ll also go further.

Ray Dalio realized that his greatest strengths were connected to his greatest weaknesses. Yours follow suit. Setbacks, he says, are what test you. They sort people, and in some cases sort them out. The struggle in doing so, the struggle in encountering your weaknesses and your setbacks, the struggle toward your own personal evolution is the reward! We’ve heard it a million times, I’m sure, but now we know: it’s the journey not the destination. The obstacle becomes the path.

Your weaknesses not only offer you the chance to rise to the occasion, they provide you with the very challenges that make life worth living. Who wants everything to come easy? There’s no growth when everything is easy. If you feel like the whole world is against you, well, in this way of thinking, there could be no greater blessing. A life of no challenge is, well, you know, boring.

Struggle, therefore, with a sense of humor. Struggle with enthusiasm. Struggle knowing that all the machinery we come to depend on — the way the economy works, the way our friends and colleagues are, the way we are — must inevitably break down. That’s the way of the world: old things die to make way for the new. We become attached, says Dalio, says anyone who is wise, to these machines, to these ways of being. Your brain likes dependability. But all things must pass — the letting go is the hardest part, but it is in that letting go that the path presents itself to us, free of our encumbering illusions, open as the wide road. By letting go, possibilities increase.

So, what does all this have to do with Capture Higher Ed? Find out next week in the grand finale of the blog series, The Call to Adventure, when I’ll explain how these principles can be applied to your admissions work and how Capture can help.

By Sean Hill, Senior Content Writer, Capture Higher Ed