In personal or professional relations, I realized that failure comes from the distortion of reality. You and 1+ other person(s) do not have the same vision of reality. Our vision of reality is biased, and we want to see the truth and facts better than they look.

  • Your company fails because your vision of the market did not match the reality, or/and your product sucks
  • Your customer did not sign the contract; you thought they liked your product way more than you think
  • Your friend did not contact you because you are way less attractive or interesting than you think and they don’t have time for you
  • Your partner wants to separate despite you thinking your relation was significant.

The list could go on and on. The fact is that you and 1+ person(s) do not share the same reality.

We all have biases and mental shortcuts that let us live in a distorted reality. The longer we live in this false reality, the more challenging and expensive it costs to escape it. Over the last years, it has hit me hard in friendship, relationships, or business.

What is the solution here? While I do not have the perfect plan, there are some solutions I use:

  • Match your reality with actual metrics: measure what you think is happening in the world and compare it to your vision and opinions.
  • External monitoring: have a friend or partner give honest and non-biased feedback. And listen to them. The hardest part is getting somebody open and not afraid to tell you how wrong you can be. Cherish such relationships.
  • Periodically evaluate yourself: regularly question your view of reality and how distorted it can be.

While sometimes you can be wrong, the world can also adopt your vision of reality. It happened in the past (after all, we are switching to electric cars, France dropped the Minitel for Internet), but it’s infrequent.

Always remember that we are all humans. When facing how wrong you are, be honest with yourself: face the reality you did not see, realize your mistake and blame no one but yourself. Cut your losses and move on. It is not about how hard wrong you were but how quickly you realize it and move forward.