Declare Victory or Failure

Whenever you start a project, you should have a plan for finishing it.

One outcome is to declare victory, to find that moment when you have satisfied your objectives and reached a goal.

The other outcome, which feels like a downer but is almost as good, is to declare failure, to realize that you’ve run out of useful string and it’s time to move on. I think the intentional act of declaring becomes an essential moment of learning, a spot in time where you consider inputs and outputs and adjust your strategy for next time.

If you are unable to declare, then you’re going to slog, and instead of starting new projects based on what you’ve learned, you’ll merely end up trapped. I’m not suggesting that you flit. A project might last a decade or a generation, but if it is to be a project, it must have an end.

Seth Godin

This is the 500th post on this site.  Nearly a year and a half ago, I started this blog to as a way to explore creativity, art, work, and life.  As life changed dramatically during that time, with less and less of my time spent on art and more and more of my time spent on law, this blog quickly turned into a repository for all of the great advice I’ve been given and lessons I’ve learned over the years.

Seth’s advice, quoted above, is one of the pieces that I didn’t take to heart.  I didn’t define in advance what would make this endeavor a success or a failure.  I just went.  Some good things have definitely come as a result, but we could have accomplished more here if I had a clearer focus from the outset, if I had defined what victory meant.

So today I’m declaring failure, in a sense.  The blog’s not going anywhere, but I will be monkeying with some things.  Announcements will follow, but exciting times are ahead.  Thanks for joining me.



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5 Responses to Declare Victory or Failure

  1. C says:

    That’s a shame AJ I’ve enjoyed following your blog since you guest posted on Sebastian Marshall’s site last year, although I can understand if you think this project has run its course.

    What’s your plan now? I’m guessing you made it as a full time lawyer and you’re busy acclimatising to your new environment.

  2. splittrout says:

    I don’t know what were your goals when you started writing this blog, but even if the results differ from your expectations, you wrote one of my favorite blogs.

  3. AJ – I’m going to say this was a ‘negative’ statement on your part – remember how staying postitive is a habit you espouse? Thomas Edison didn’t have 1000 failures (or 3000 – I’ve read both) – he had a 1000 step experiment.

    The blog might not be the direction you want to continue but you learned how to do it, and if nothing else, you wrote a post that Mr. Money Mustache loved and linked to (he especially liked how you ‘mocked’ his writing – that’s not easy to do!) (you-too-can-retire-in-your-early-30s). I liked it so much I read many of your other blog posts and hope to see more writing from you soon.

    Not a failure – done with this part of the experiment and ready to move on!

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