Category Archives for "Lifehacks"

The Art of Failing Fast

This is republished with permission by the author, Mike Martel. It is the third in a three-part series.

The road to success is paved by failure

The road to success is paved by failure

If you want to achieve a lot in life, sometimes the secret is to stop trying so hard and to put out lower quality work.

Wait… what?

That’s not what they told you at school right? And it probably goes against pretty much everything you’ve been brought up to believe as well. But in fact it is very often the case when it comes to really being successful so let’s take a look at why.

What it Means to Fail Fast

What I’m talking about here is ‘failing fast’. In business, this means creating your ‘minimal viable product’ or your ‘MVP’ and releasing that as quickly as possible. So a company will create a product that is really sub-par in many ways and that certainly could be better and then they’ll release ten more. In the same time another company that doesn’t take the fail fast approach might only release a single product that’s much better quality.

Why is it better in some cases to release things that you don’t really think are the best they could possibly be?

Well it comes down to the fact that these ‘minimal viable products’ require smaller investment and allow you to get something out the door faster. That means that you can beat the competition to market and it means that you don’t lose out on such a big investment as you otherwise might do. More importantly, it means you can quickly release something else again next week as well.

As a result you’ll be able to rapidly test the market and get an idea for whether or not people want to buy your product. If you get lots of interest and lots of sales then you know that it’s worth your while to invest even more time and even more effort into that particular version because there’s a market there to buy it. If you don’t get any interest? You move on, having taking the minimal financial hit. Meanwhile, the company that invested all their time, effort and money on creating one fantastic product might risk that product failing and costing them huge amounts, possibly ending the business.

Applying it to Life

The ‘fail fast’ technique can also be applied to other areas of your life. Basically this means releasing a ‘beta’ version into the public and you can do this in all kinds of situations.

For instance, if you’re in a bar and you want to get someone to go home with someone attractive, then instead of spending all night staring at one person, instead try smiling at as many people as possible. Some people will look the other way, but when someone finally smiles back, then you can go over and invest the time.

See what other areas you can apply the fail fast approach to!


Mike Martel is a former Green Beret who teaches about productivity and much more. Visit his site at

The 80/20 Principle – Knowing Where to Put Your Effort In

This is republished with permission by the author, Mike Martel. It is the second in a three-part series.

use the 80-20 rule

Going big is often the best way to ensure your success – create enough output, take enough chances and eventually you’ll be sure to have a hit or ten under your belt which for many of us will be more than enough.

But while working hard enough is often the secret to almost guaranteed success, you mustn’t also underestimate the power of working smart.

What it Means to Work Smart

What it means to work smart is basically to be strategic in the way that you approach any problem or any ambition. In turn, this means approaching your aims in such a way that you will be able to cut corners and accomplish the most with the minimal effort. In theory, this will then allow you to combine your smart strategy with huge output in order to accomplish the best possible results. Putting in 10,000 hours is a great way to become an expert – but the quality of those 10,000 hours also makes a big difference.

The 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 rule, also sometimes know as the ‘Pareto Principle’, basically states that whatever it is that you do, 20% of your effort will yield 80% of your success. So if you sell 100 products, chances are that 20 of them (or even fewer) will make up the vast majority of your cash.

The moral of this story is that if you ‘throw enough paint at the wall’ some is bound to stick. We often won’t know what is going to be the most important aspect of our strategy but once we do, it’s then a good idea to focus on that smaller percentage that yields results.

In the case of a business providing a service, it will often be that the company makes the vast majority of its money from just a few clients while the others serve as nothing but a distraction really. In other cases, it might be that a small number of clients cause the vast majority of the problems.

In such a case, it would be wise for that business to lose the 20% causing the 80% of the problem and even to get rid of some of those clients that aren’t bringing much to the table. Instead, focus purely on the ones that are generating the most income and actually life will be easier and you’ll earn much more. Then you can put in huge effort and see huge rewards for both them and you!

Mike Martel is a former Green Beret who teaches about productivity and much more. Visit his site at

The Beauty That Awaits Us Every Single Day

success = opportunity + preparation

Yesterday, I picked up the kids from school. I wanted to ride home with them on our bikes or walk them home, but I just didn't have time. So I picked them up in my car.

Lucky me.

As we were driving home, Rowan, my 7 year-old, said, “Dad, some of my friends today saw a rainbow around the sun.” WHOA. That's cool.

Then, less than 2 minutes later, he said, “Dad, look at that!”

Opportunities and awesomeness are all around usNow, a caveat: It was way more awesome than this crummy photographer was able to capture. Actually, the true story:

In the 2 minutes it took to get home and grab the camera, the cloud iridescence had almost completely vanished.

There are at least three lessons here.

  1. Opportunity and wonder are all about us. We just need to look around and become more aware of what's going on around us.
  2. Awesomeness is fleeting. So are opportunities. Seize them while they're there. This means you must be ready when opportunities present themselves.
  3. Kids have better vision than we do. They don't have the filters yet. They haven't put up the walls. Learn from them.

Opportunities abound. You just have to be on the lookout for them. And, of course, be prepared when they do present themselves.

How Playing the Numbers Game Can Help You to Succeed at Everything

This is republished with permission by the author, Mike Martel. It is the first in a three-part series.

Play the numbers - they're on your side

Want to increase your odds of success?

Want to increase your likelihood at success? Then simply try more often.

In gambling this isn’t a good idea because it means you’ll lose a hundred times before you win and go broke. But in life things are different. In life, you can ‘fail’ thousands of times and bounce back stronger than you were before… But you only need one win. If you ‘play the numbers’ then, you can effectively rig yourself to succeed no matter what you do.

In Dating

I have a friend who applies this logic to dating. He’s a funny guy and every time we go on a night out, he will set off to approach lots of women. In a typical scenario he might chat up 10-20 girls on a night out and 9/10 times he will get rejected. We all laugh at him and tease him for it but here’s the thing… really the joke’s on us.

If you’ve done the math, then 9/10 fails means that on a typical number he’ll succeed with one or two women… which means he’s basically getting more action than all of us put together. Now that’s success!

In Making Money

You can also apply this to making money, as I once did.

When Kindle first came out, there was something of a ‘gold rush’ as people clamored to upload e-books to Amazon. I started out by uploading a book or two and it got a couple of downloads a month – I was happy, if underwhelmed.

But then I realized that every book I uploaded would get me two more sales a month. And once the book was there, I wouldn’t have to do anything to promote sales. Seeing as I’m capable of writing 10,000 words or more a day, that meant I could write pretty much an e-book a day. Can you guess what I did? For one year I uploaded an e-book or two every single day and by the end I had hundreds of e-books in the store. All of them got at least two downloads a day and two of them went massive… the result? A huge ‘passive income’ that would pay my wages traveling for the whole subsequent year.

The moral of the story? You make your own luck. Play the game enough and you will win and make it big!

Mike Martel is a former Green Beret who teaches about productivity and much more. Visit his site at