The Secrets to Failure

March 19, 2024, Israel

Countless books have been written on the secrets to success. One of the secrets to success is writing a book about success and selling it to gullible people. But perhaps we should look at success from another angle, what is it that prevents success? What behavior patterns should you avoid? So here I will enumerate, from my own personal experiences, some of the secrets to failure. Follow these and you will surely fail in everything you attempt. Avoid these and you improve your chances of success. 

1. You can always push something off to a more appropriate time - When is the best time to start a diet? Not now, certainly not during the holiday period, that would ruin the season. Nor before dessert. Wait, a better time to start would be later. I have heard this a million times; I will not start an exercise program now, as it will be counterproductive. If I start now, with all the work distractions I currently have, I will end up not being able to follow through and quit. Best to wait until I finish this busy work period and start when I have more time to really focus on this. (the person who said this, never began their exercise program).

2. Listen to your body - People often say, with some justification, Listen to your body. Yes, it is OK to take a break when your body really needs it. It is OK to rest after a long and exhausting trip, but this is a very vague and dangerous area. Your body will almost always say...skip a lesson, stay in bed. Rarely do we wake up at 5 am and think, I should get out of the house, go to the synagogue, or the dojo. Our body will almost always tell us, stay in bed, it is warm and cozy. Don't go out in the cold, that can wait for another day. We need to fight our body, our instinctive laziness, and force ourselves to do something. 

I used to get up every morning in New York to get to the Oyama dojo for the early class. My body always told me to stay in bed, but my spirit told me to get up, get dressed, go out in the snow and cold and take the subway to Manhattan. Don't always give in to your body. But if failure is your goal, you can always justify it by saying I was listening to my body. My body really wanted that extra twinkie. 

3. It is OK to skip a lesson - We all feel lazy now and then, or always. We will say, it is OK to miss one lesson. But then, we miss another, and it becomes a habit. Later on, we will think, or tell our instructor, I have been training for 2 years, why am I only a yellow belt? The honest answer would be, you have been a member of the club for 2 years but your actually training amounts to a week and a half. No belt for you.

4. Redirect blame - Do not take responsibility for your own failures. There is always someone you can blame. The art of not taking responsibility for your own actions is a highly developed one. If you take responsibility for your own failures you will have to make some changes in your life and your attitude, which is difficult and awkward, but if you can find some outside source or circumstances to blame, you can continue as always. 

5. Take every failure as a sign that you are simply not good at this - Many people want to learn to speak a foreign language. They think it will be fun, and easy. It is not. Learning a foreign language, even if you are good at it, is difficult. Yet when people do not succeed at first, they look at those who are successful and say, "She has a knack for languages".  That is far more comforting that saying, she has worked really hard at this. Admitting that you don't have a "Knack for languages" allows you to accept failure without feeling bad about it or feeling guilty for quitting. 

6. See a failure as a reflection of yourself are as a person - If you fail, instead of saying, OK, I did not succeed with this, I will try again. Or, perhaps this is not my forte, my strongest suit, perhaps I am more suited to something else; you can say, I am just a total loser, a born failure, I can never succeed at anything. This way you can keep living your life comfortably without making much of an effort. 

7. Judging yourself by observing others - Joining a martial arts class, watching the young fit, talented guys and thinking, I am not as good as they are. Of course you are not as good as there are! because you have not yet put in the work. And even if you are not as talented, that does not mean you cannot succeed. A sure method to achieve failure is to compare yourself to the most gifted, the most talented in the group. You will feel inadequate and quit.

8. Obstacles in the way - The lazy man says, “There is a lion in the road! A fierce lion is in the streets!”  (Book of Proverbs) There are always obstacles on the path to success. If you wish to fail, simply make note of all these obstacles, amplify them in your mind, exaggerate their importance, turn a street cat into a fierce lion, and now you have a reason why you simply could not succeed.

On the other hand, if you wish to succeed, simply do the opposite of everything I have just written. It is actually your choice.


Moshe Katz, 7th dan Black Belt, Israeli Krav Maga. Certified by Wingate Institute. Member Black Belt hall of fame, USA and Europe.

Understand the Israeli Fighting Mentality - Israel a Nation of Warriors by Moshe Katz


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What are the Biblical origins of Krav Maga and who was the first Krav Maga instructor?

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