Fail Early

Nassim Taleb points out that one of the fundamental beliefs that built America was that if you worked hard, were smart with your resources and met the needs of the market, then you would likely succeed. This type of approach Taleb categorizes as “Robust”. Conversely, if you are lazy, stupid and don’t meet the needs of your market, you deserve to fail. Taleb calls this approach “Fragile”. Taleb believes intrinsic to “the American Way” is that whatever is “Fragile” should fail early.

I think he’s onto something, not just in business, but in personal relationships as well.

Rather than performing a bail-out of my ex-wife every time she had an emotional meltdown because the direction of the wind changed, I should have allowed her to “fail”, which in this context means “experience the consequences of her actions.”

Instead, I “bailed her out” and kept her from “failing early”. Preventing those small early failures led inexorably to the ultimate spectacular relationship failure: divorce.

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