Actually, he missed 12,345 times. And with a shooting percentage of 49.7%, he missed more shots than he made.

This fact is used to motivate others. Failure, after all, is the path to success. Part of striving. To borrow from another sports legend, Gretzky said “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” It’s true.

But scale still matters. One failed shot attempt in a game is cheap compared to a failed multi-year project. You don’t get many multi-year projects. In basketball and hockey, players get thousands of shot attempts. These are completely different things.

The good news is that we can shrink it. Shrink the scale of our efforts to the size of a shot attempt. It’s weird to think in this way, perhaps, but the multi-year project contains actions you will do thousands of times. Thousands of attempts. When you identify those and think of them as shot attempts, who knows? You might make 49.7% of those attempts. You might end up like Michael Jordan.

That’s the idea behind this week’s book review: “How To Fail At Almost Everything And Still Win Big” by Scott Adams.

Yesterday was about the ratchet, the tool that self-perpetuates its progress and builds momentum with every new effort. The ratchet concept feels really strong when combined with the idea of breaking our work into smaller portions a’la shot attempts. That might sound like nonsense now but I have a whole week to explain. Several shot attempts.

Photo by Munkhtuvshin Tumur-Ochir on Unsplash