How to Guarantee Failure!

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

 Attributed to Albert Einstein

As we approached graduation at Princeton University there were flurries of meetings with recruiters for graduating seniors. Most of my classmates were trying to decide between graduate school or taking a job. One by one, my roommates would get their rejection letters and we would post them on the wall in our dorm. Eventually, they all had great employment opportunities after school but the process of receiving those rejection letters became a source of a weird sense of pride; probably to keep from crying.

I had already made the decision to go on a church mission after graduation so didn’t really have any pressure to go through this interview process. However, I also felt left out to some degree so I signed up to have an interview with the Clairol recruiter visiting our campus. I walked into the interview with a hand written resume and indicated near the end of the interview that I would not be available for two years because of my church mission. As we concluded, the interviewer gave me some sage advice. He said that perhaps I should not mention that I wouldn’t be available for two years in my next interview. I soon got my rejection letter!

 There are several principles to be gleaned from this story. I would like to concentrate on the association between preparation and results and how we interpret that connection. Clearly, I went to the interview unprepared and the results I received were predictable. Anyone reading this can easily see the connection between my preparation and my rejection. Now take any other result that you would like to achieve and look at the preparation that you are putting into it in order to achieve it. Maybe you are not as blatantly unprepared as I was but maybe you are. Is it as easy to see and predict the results in your quest based on your preparation as it was in mine?

  • Would you be surprised to be in poor health if you eat poorly and do not exercise?
  • Would you be surprised that your spouse is unhappy if you are selfish, condescending, and a slob?
  • Would you be surprised that you are broke if you gamble, are lazy, don’t try to find extra work or get a better education?
  • Would you be surprised that you have no real friends if you continually ignore or take advantage of or criticize those around you?
  • Would you be surprised that you do not get that promotion if you go home early or exactly when your work day is over, put your interests before the company’s interests, and participate in the negative back biting culture at the office?

If any of those would be surprises then reread my experience with Clairol. In most cases we get what we prepare for when the giver is prepared and able to give it. When we don’t get what we are seeking yet we have done the work, we at least get the satisfaction of doing our part.

HighFive Your Life Principle: Do not expect to get something without preparing and working for it.

Please share stories from your life regarding this principle. If you would like to follow the weekly blog, please press the “follow” prompt. Thank you for keeping your comments appropriate for all readers.

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