Cover of 'X Life Lessons to Live By' book – a collaboration between the author and Chat GPT, offering extensive self-help guidance and tools for mental well-being, specially curated for Mental Health Month, May 2023

Chapter 1: Failure is Inevitable

Chapter 1: Failure is Inevitable
Life is not just about positivity, success, and opportunities. There is no silver bullet that will kill every scary werewolf life happens to throw your way. "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" is a classic fable about truth and misinformation. The moral of the story is essentially that lying is bad, and habitual misinformation can lead to disastrous consequences.
The self-help world and many psychologists promote the belief that the boy is to blame for the wolf coming to destroy the flock. If he had not lied or played tricks on people and only cried wolf once, then the villagers could have saved the flock. We are creatures of habit more than anything else.
The psychology of this fable is a good metaphor for what we are facing now in 2023 as a society. Misinformation is a growing problem, and the lines between fake and real, and truth and lie, are the thinnest they've ever been in my entire lifetime. Metaphorical wolves are everywhere, ready to attack our comfort zone of soft, cuddly wool. The phenomenon known as "Cancel Culture" is similar to the villagers sewing a scarlet letter on the boy and casting him out of the town square. This is a 24/7 occurrence on the social media platform known as Twitter.

To me, the moral of the story of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" has always been misread and full of misinformation. If you think about the story for a few minutes and take it to its logical conclusions, you reach different morals about the story. Society tends to teach that the moral of the story is to tell the truth and be a good person. By telling the truth and being a good person, we can successfully fight off the wolves of life by forming closer connections with the villagers. Logically, the way to form close relationships with people is to follow the advice you find in books like "How to Win Friends and Influence People." The general life lesson taught to everyone from the story is something like: by telling the truth, you can defeat the wolf and thrive economically by selling the wool from the sheep.
But that's not reality. It's not even the reality of the story. The story is one of epic failure and complete disaster more than anything else. First of all, the villagers are morons for leaving the job of protecting the sheep to a little boy. The sheep are an economic resource for the entire town. Without the wool, the mill doesn't have product to turn into fabric or thread to be sold in the merchant clothing stores in town. The sheep also provide meat for the butcher to sell and food for the villagers. The survival of the sheep is of great importance, and the job of protecting the sheep should fall on every villager because every villager gains from the benefit of the sheep staying alive. Leaving the job of protecting the entire flock to a little boy is a failure of epic proportions. The story is actually more depressing than simply fighting misinformation and lies when you consider the flock is dead, which results in people going hungry and losing their livelihood when their business doesn't have any product to sell anymore.
The life lesson of the fable is based on a hypothetical "what if" scenario, which is something that college-educated people tend to do sometimes. One of the life lessons I've learned from failures is that you can't live your life based on hypothetical "what if" scenarios. You have to make decisions based on the facts and information right in front of you. Time machines do not exist, and you can't go back in time and teach the boy a life lesson about telling the truth, which will result in others killing the wolf for you. The words on the page of the story are that the sheep are all dead, and the villagers have a big problem on their hands.
Thankfully, our EMS and heroes in law enforcement do not live in this fairy tale. They show up to fight a wolf and solve problems on every call that comes their way. Even if the call is fake and a lie, they show up because if you show up every time, you don't ever miss the wolf.
Aesop lived in the 6th century BC and was a slave in Ancient Greece who had a gift for storytelling. He was known for his quick wit and ability to entertain both his fellow slaves and masters. The story "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" is one of his fables that is about 800 years older than the Bible. His stories were passed around the ancient world orally for generations and were written down by the Greek author Babrius who lived during the 2nd century BC.
Around this time period, a small group of Celtic Druids found their way down the Seine River and founded a small village. The tribe was known as the Parisii. Around the time of Julius Caesar, the Romans founded a town called Lutetia at the same village of the Parisii. Over the last 2,000 years, the village has fought off countless metaphorical wolves both externally from abroad and ones that were formed internally from within. Even though the Roman Empire fell, the Druids no longer exist, and countless other failures have occurred in that village over the years, Paris today is far more indomitable than Rome ever was when it was ruled by the Caesars. It has grown into a success that reaches far beyond any border.
Every failure is an opportunity to grow. As an individual, it's impossible to reach the heights of success of a Paris, New York, or Rome. Success in life takes a village.

Paris has countless historical figures to use as examples to make points about life lessons and the importance of good manners in social occasions. Louis Vuitton arrived in Paris as a teenager and began working to make luggage, facing struggles and failures many times before achieving great success. He faced competition from people who stole his creative process and sold cheap knockoffs. But through his sole dedication to producing the highest quality goods he possibly could, he eventually gained great success. He began his Parisian story as just one individual trying to learn a skill at 14 years old.
Marie Antoine Carême is a legendary French chef who pioneered certain techniques still taught as foundational skills to be learned in culinary schools all across the world. But his story is one of failure and struggle that turned into great success. He was born into a very poor Parisian family during the time of the French Revolution. His mother and father were having another child, and he was only about 12 years old when his father took him to the gates of Paris and had one last meal with his son at a tavern. His father couldn't make enough money to feed him anymore, and he had to make it on his own in Paris at 12 years old. Marie Antoine Careme began working in taverns cleaning and helping out. Eventually, he found his way into the kitchen and by his early 20s showed great talent for pastries. He went on to become one of the most famous chefs in history and cooked for Talleyrand during the conference in Vienna, where Europe was figuring out what to do with Napoleon. He then cooked for the Rothschilds, Tsar Alexander, and King George IV of England. He became known as the "King of chefs and the Chef of kings," and he passed away at the age of 48.
Vincent Van Gogh is perhaps the biggest failure in life in all of history. During his lifetime, he only sold one painting, which is not a lot considering his brother was an art dealer in Paris. He was born in the Netherlands, and by the age of 20, he began to lose interest in art and life even though he was in art school. At 21, he lived in complete isolation and fanatically studied religion. He had several jobs that didn’t last long at 22 and 23, and by 24, he was ready to become a minister and went to school. He gave up the pursuit of life as a minister a few years later. At 27, he decided to dedicate his life to art. For the next ten years, he struggled as an artist with only his brother Theo, who supported him. He painted and made some friends among the impressionist community. At 36 years old, he got into an argument with the painter Gauguin and in a fit of rage, cut off his own ear. This event led him to seek help, and he lived for a year or so in a mental asylum where he created some fantastic paintings. A few months after being released, he decided to take his own life. He shot himself but did not die instantly, which is also a failure of sorts. Vincent Van Gogh died at 37 years old on July 29, 1890. Six months after his death, his brother Theo, who supported him during his life, also died.
Success after life came for Vincent and Theo through the work and dedication of Theo’s wife, Jo. She suddenly found herself widowed at 28 years old with an infant to take care of. Jo also had hundreds of paintings by Vincent Van Gogh lying around. Over the following years, she expertly displayed Van Gogh’s works and published the letters between Theo and Vincent. Jo also made sure the family kept hold of the ones they liked best, the ones everyone knows as Van Gogh’s - the Harvest series, the Sunflowers in the Vase, and a few others. Within 40 years after his death, Jo was able to fulfill her late husband's wish of elevating his brother’s life's work. By the time she passed away in 1925, Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings were all over the world in some of the most famous museums on the planet. And even though in life Vincent Van Gogh didn't amount to much more than just a mentally ill artist who was known as talented by a few people for a short period of time, he has become internationally known by millions of people as one of the most talented painters in all of history.

10 Psychological facts about failure
AI generated summary of the article found at this link:
1. Failure is a necessary part of the learning process, and people who have experienced failure are often more successful in the long run. Failure can provide valuable feedback and insight into what didn't work and what needs to be improved. It can also help build resilience and determination as people learn to pick themselves up and try again.
2. Perfectionism can lead to fear of failure, which can hold people back from taking risks and achieving their goals. When people are too focused on achieving perfection, they may become overly critical of themselves and their work. This can lead to anxiety and fear of failure, which can prevent them from taking risks and trying new things.
3. Failure can be an opportunity for growth and can lead to increased resilience and determination. When people learn from their mistakes and use failure as a chance to improve, they can develop new skills, knowledge, and insights. This can help them become more resilient and determined in the face of future challenges.
4. Failure can also lead to depression, anxiety, and other negative emotions if not handled properly. When people are unable to cope with failure or feel like it reflects on their personal worth, they may experience negative emotions like shame, guilt, and anxiety. This can lead to depression and other mental health issues if not addressed.
5. People who attribute failure to external factors rather than personal shortcomings are more likely to learn from their mistakes and improve. When people focus on external factors like luck, timing, or circumstances, they are more likely to take responsibility for their actions and learn from their mistakes. This can help them improve and achieve better outcomes in the future.
6. Failure can be contagious, and people who are surrounded by failure may be more likely to experience it themselves. When people see others around them experiencing failure, it can make them feel like it's more acceptable or likely to happen to them as well. This can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy where people become more likely to fail because they expect it.
7. The way people think about failure can influence how they respond to it, and reframing failure as a learning experience can be helpful. When people see failure as a valuable learning opportunity rather than a personal failure, they are more likely to learn from it and improve. Reframing failure in this way can help people overcome negative emotions and develop a growth mindset.
8. Failure can be especially difficult for high-achieving individuals who are used to success and praise. When people are used to achieving success and receiving praise, failure can be a major blow to their self-esteem and confidence. This can make it harder for them to cope with failure and learn from their mistakes.
9. Failure can lead to increased creativity and innovation as people search for new solutions and ideas. When people experience failure, they are often forced to think outside the box and come up with new solutions and ideas. This can lead to increased creativity and innovation as people search for ways to overcome their challenges.
10. Finally, failure can be an opportunity to reevaluate goals and priorities and can help people focus on what is truly important in their lives. When people experience failure, it can be a chance to step back and think about what they really want and what is most important to them. This can help them refocus their energy and efforts on the things that truly matter.

10 Statistics on Failure
1. About 20% of businesses fail in the first year of business, about 65% of businesses never get to 10 years of being in business.
2. Marriages fail quite frequently. The trends and rates change with time but generally speaking first marriages tend to end in divorce at higher rates than second marriages and the younger you are the more likely you are to get divorced. Although recently there’s been a shift towards people in their 50’s getting divorced at higher rates. The point being is that failed marriage is just another opportunity to reframe one’s situation, make changes and grow into a better partner for someone else in the future.
3. About 60% of restaurants fail within one year and 80% of or restaurants close within 5 years.
4. The Writers Guild of America gets about 50,000 scripts per year and Hollywood tends to only make about 150 movies per year. Meaning there is a less than 1% chance a script ever gets turned into a movie. It’s not that writer failed at writing a script, it’s just that the script failed at being turned into a movie or show. But the failure is an opportunity to improve.
5. There are countless musicians in the world who are all talented at playing instruments and form bands everyday. Statistically 99% of bands fail in some kind of way. The bands who could actually be labeled as “Rock Stars” are less than 1% of overall group of people who play instruments and try to make it big. If the goal is to become the next Red Hot Chili Peppers then statistically the band has almost no chance at becoming that famous. I mean even the members of Red Hot Chili Peppers probably laugh all the time at how lucky they are to be successful. They very easily could have become just another band that was around for a year or two in Los Angeles and broke up. They were not too many steps away from being homeless in Los Angeles in the 1980’s. And now they play in front of tens of thousands are in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame.
6. The rejection rates of book proposals to publishers is also extremely high. Less than 1% of proposals ever get published by a major publisher, and even once it is published the chances of it being bought in a store and becoming a “bestseller” are extremely remote. There are about 1 million books published per year through traditional publishing. Only about 1% of them become bestsellers that sell over 5,000 copies. Only 10% sell 1,000 copies and the average book sells about 250 copies a year and only about 3,000 copies during its lifetime.
7. Self publishing makes it easier to get work published but the chances of failure are also extremely high. There are 1.7 million self published tittles per year. An estimated 300 million purchases of self titled books. However, most of those purchases go to a few authors. The average “self published author” makes $1,000 per year from their books. A third of self published authors make less than $500 and 20% don’t make a single dollar (like me). 90% of self published books sell less than 100 copies. Only 1,600 self published authors make $25,000 or more per year.
8. New Years Resolutions fail all the time. About 80% of people give up on their resolutions by mid February.
9. Job applications fail at staggering rates. The “hidden job market” makes up about 70% of jobs. Meaning that 70% of all jobs are not publicly posted on job sites and are filled through referrals or some other kind of way. Job applicants who send out 20-81 applications have about a 30% chance of getting a job offer. Meaning 70% don’t get a job offer. I actually think the statistics are worse than they look at first glance. Just look at the negative space and reframe the statistics on this and it comes out sounding like lots of failure. 22% of applicants who apply for a job land an interview, which means that 88% of job applicants do not get an interview. 36% of applicants who get interviewed get a job offer, meaning that even if you get an interview there’s a 64% chance you will fail at getting a job. Applicants with a referral from someone get interviewed about 50% of the time. So basically these numbers boil down to a constant stream of failure for people who are organically trying to get a job without knowing someone on the inside.
10. Quotes by Winston Churchill tend to always help when dealing with failure.
10.1 “The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you can see.” Is one that helps reframe your future and get you more enthusiastic.
10.2 “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty” helps maintain a positive outlook in the fog of failure.
10.3 “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” This helps deal with gossip.
10.4 “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Helps put things into perspective and focus what we can do to better give to others as opposed to take from others.
10.5 “If you are going through hell, keep going.” The road of failure eventually circles back around to purgatory which is a little better than hell.
10.6 “Never, never, never give up.”
10.7 “Kites rise highest against the wind - not with it.” Which is a good reminder to be on the avant-garde side of things. This is a variation of a Ben Franklin quote “If everybody is thinking alike, then no one is thinking”
10.8 “Difficulties mastered are opportunities won”
10.9 “It’s a fine thing to be honest, bit is also very important to be right.”
10.10 “A state of society where men may not speak their minds cannot long endure.”
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