How I Stopped Failing At Everything (by TRULY understanding my WHY)

Up until I was 27 years old I failed at anything and everything that I tried to commit to, which frankly, wasn’t even that much stuff. These days, I succeed at pretty much everything that I commit to, business, gym, healthy eating, salsa, boxing, heck last year I even climbed one of the tallest mountains in Europe only a few months after meniscus surgery!

Looking back at my younger self, it’s become so obvious to me why I used to fail at everything and how I’m now able to succeed, you see, it’s because these days, I authentically understand why I do things.

I believe that when we can authentically understand our “why” behind doing something, that thing becomes effortless. It actually becomes harder to not do that thing, that sounds so easy doesn’t it, but it’s not, and I’ll tell you why. 

Because we exist within a society that is designed to confuse us, especially when it comes to “why” we do things. We may think that we understand “why” we do things, but in the vast ocean that is our consciousness, the reality is that most of us are just flapping about pathetically on the surface, where society is designed to keep us. 

This is exactly why many of us struggle with everything, this is exactly why I used to fail at everything.

Growing a business is difficult, but I wake up every day at 4:30 a.m., I work during the weekends, because by truly and authentically understanding my “why”, I’ve tapped into what is essentially a permanent source of motivation.

I am not disciplined, this is effortless, again, it would be harder to not do these things. 

I believe that most of our “whys” for doing things are given to us by society, in a way that tricks us into believing that we thought of them ourselves, because society is designed to profit off of us and failure is great for business.

This all becomes obvious when we start to dig even just a little deeper

In this video, I’m going to show you how I learned to authentically understand “Why” I do things and to do that, I’ll give you an extremely simple tool that you can use with any and all of your individual endeavors and pursuits. 

Why did I really want to do this? Why did I fail?

Ok, so think about the last time you tried to commit to something, like going to the gym, or meditation, or eating healthy, and failed, and consider the following two questions: 

  1. Why did I really want to do this? 
  2. Why did I  fail?

If you actually care about learning something from this video, pause the video and consider those two questions for a second.

Ok, now, here’s the real question. The last time that you failed at something, why didn’t you sit down to consider:

  1. Why did I really want to do this? 
  2. Why did I fail?

When I was first trying to establish a gym habit, I’d always keep it up for a few weeks or months but I’d inevitably fail and it would take weeks, months to “try again” and every time I tried again, I never paused to consider why I really wanted to consistently go to the gym, or why I had failed previously, I simply told myself “this time, I’m going to try harder”.

And I believe it is precisely here that we fail, in this idea that we’re just going to “try harder” next time. This is an automatic response, we’re programmed to think this way, that is to say,  we’re programmed to not think. 

In the words of Albert Einstein 

“Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results”

I say this without exaggeration the vast majority of us are fucking insane, we fail, all the time, without ever actually considering why, and I’ve heard so often, that we need to understand our “why” but the problem here is, in a society where we hear that so often, it loses its significance becomes what is called an “empty platitude”. 

According LiteraryTerms.net 

“Platitudes are trite statements that simplify rather than explore complicated subjects. If life could be boiled down to our numerous platitudes, it would be a lot easier to live. In reality, though, life is complicated and difficult at times, and platitudes lack the depth and complexity to truly help or provide wisdom.”

And so I’ll say it again, we think that we understand why we do things, because we’ve never actually fucking thought at all.

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Rising Action

So here’s how to go from insane, to consistent success, using a very simple tool that allows to dig deep to authentically understand our “why”. For many years I wanted to learn salsa but I’d do a few weeks of classes and then lose motivation, I’d fail and then a few weeks or months later, I’d start again, with that same insane “this time I’ll try harder” mentality. 

I thought my “why” was that I wanted to find a way to express myself physically, I think that’s a great “why”, so, why was I failing? 

Because I didn’t authentically understand my “why”, because after each failure, I never paused to consider:

  1. Why do I really want to do this? 
  2. Why did I fail?

Now here’s the tool, we need to repeatedly ask “why” until we can’t go any further, for simplicity’s sake, let’s call this the “Why of Why”.

The reality is that the when we consider “why” we do things, the first answer is almost never the true answer and that we actually have lots of  “whys” which is why we have to keep asking “why”. Once we’ve dug deep enough, we can then not only more authentically understand our “why”, but also be in much better position to diagnose why we’re failing? 

Here’s how I used the ‘Why of Why’ to get to the bottom of my salsa issues and finally succeed.

Ok Nelson, why do you want to learn to dance salsa? As a way for me to express myself physically.

Why? Because I’m introverted and I think that dancing salsa will represent “overcoming” something that I desire to overcome.

Why is that important? Because I think that for me to find fulfillment, I need to overcome various aspects of myself.

Why? Because I should be in competition with myself and nobody else.

Ok, why else do you want to dance salsa? Anything you’re potentially hiding? Well, I think it will be a great way to meet women, I also think that others will find it impressive and I want to impress others.

I think you guys are getting the picture, but I just kept going deeper and deeper, layers and layers and layers, by the time I was done I had probably gone through hundred different levels of “why”.

So why salsa and not something else? Hrmm… well for starters, I think it’s beautiful, but I also love how, at the highest level, salsa isn’t so much about knowing as it is forgetting and simply being, I want to just be.

Why else? I also love the idea that dancing involves communicating energy between two people, I want to learn how to communicate through my energy.

So once I more authentically understood my “why” it was time to consider why I was failing.

Nelson, why do you think you’re failing? Hrmm… I find myself not enjoying the classes.

Ok Nelson, why is that? This one I had to think about for a while and I came up with 3 reasons.

  1. I wasn’t enjoying the music.
  2. My teachers were only teaching me memorized steps so wasn’t ‘actually’ learning how to dance. 
  3. It takes a lot of time to travel to and from the classes.

Boom, 3 really good reasons behind why I was failing, so now what did I do? Hint: I didn’t try to find a book or YouTube video on the subject. I started with myself.

First, I needed to learn to enjoy the music, so I started listening to more salsa music, learning the roles and significance of different instruments,  tried to pay attention to patterns and came to realize that to a certain extent, salsa music is predictable, which is why the best dancers can dance to a song they’ve never heard and look as though they’ve heard that song a million times, I familiarized myself with certain styles and groups, many of which have interesting and unique heritages and rich stories that add to the flavor of their songs, and in time, I went from hating salsa music to falling in love with it. These days I listen to it all the time and it always brings something out of me, when I box, I find myself using the music to dictate certain punches or movements. When I write, I find that I’m much more creative. 

Ok, so first problem solved, next problem, my teachers were only teaching me memorized steps. 

Now, I could have just kept trying different teachers until I found one that fit what I was looking for, but I went a step further and decided to set up a website, https://buscandosalseros.com/ , on that website I described myself, what I was looking for in a teacher and I ran Facebook ads to all of the salsa teachers in Medellin to have them apply to be my teacher.

After going through over thirteen applicants, I found Daniela, an amazing teacher who taught me to interpret the music, this also solved my 3rd reason for failure, as I had her come to my apartment for the classes instead of having to travel back and forth to a dance school. Fast forward and now I can dance salsa at a really high level, I achieved my goal of being able to use salsa to be able to express myself physically, to communicate through energy, to simply be. Salsa will now always and forever be a part of my life. 

Conclusion

So, let’s bring it back here and do a full recap.

We fail at things because we don’t authentically understand why we actually want to do things, or why we fail in the first place.

Society has conditioned us to fail because failure is more profitable, to cure this, we need to stop being insane and go deeper within ourselves and we can use the “Why of Why” to do that. 

First, we should ask ourselves why in every possible way imaginable, we really want to do the thing that we’re trying to do.

Once we’ve gone as deep as we can to more authentically understand our “why”, which is never the first reason that we think it is, and almost always never just one thing, we can then more authentically diagnose why our previous attempts have failed and in doing so, make the adjustments necessary to succeed. 

We don’t need to buy expensive books or courses to do this, we just need to be willing to look just a little deeper within that place that society doesn’t want us to look, ourselves.

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