What Apollo 13 Can Teach You About Success

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“Houston, we’ve had a problem.” – Jim Lovell, April 14, 1970

The crew of Apollo 13, bound for the moon, indeed had a problem. An oxygen tank exploded, causing massive damage to the spacecraft’s electrical system.

Against all odds, the men made it back to earth alive. Mission control and the crew found a solution to their problem.

When later interviewed, flight controller Jerry Bostick said the following:

Q: “Weren’t there times when everybody, or at least a few people, just panicked?”

A: “No, when bad things happened, we just calmly laid out all the options, and failure was not one of them. We never panicked, and we never gave up on finding a solution.”

Failure was simply no option. This statement is the answer to life, the universe and everything (not 42!), or at least to success. Whether you want to live on a tropical island and work from your laptop, grow a big business or want to be more successful with the opposite sex.

The Success-Formula

The formula is simple, but powerful. This formula could be the answer to most of your problems. If you apply it, you probably won’t need any self-help literature anymore.

Step 1: Work hard. (And act now!)

Step 2: Evaluate results.

Step 3: If not desired result reached, go back to step 1.

Simply ban the word failure from your vocabulary. The new project you worked on hard might not be creating income. Maybe some idea didn’t work out. That’s great. You just found one way to not succeed (and learned tons in the process). Good news: chances of success for your next project just increased.

If you are persistent, sooner or later, you will reach your goal. The only way to fail is to give up.

Persistence, working hard and taking action today are the 3 main differentiators between losers and winners, in all areas of life.

They can probably summed up in one character trait: (self-)discipline.

Three years ago, a professor told us that we will have “fun by means of discipline”. Back then, I didn’t understand what he meant. Now I do. Discipline is the key-trait of successful people.

Many people want to succeed online, but most of them don’t. Why is that so? It’s not because making money online is impossible. It’s because they don’t take sufficient action or give up too early. It happened to me as well. I was looking for a way to succeed online without having to work hard. Of course I didn’t find it :).

If you want to make money online and don’t know where to start, I’d suggest the following: decide on a method now(Affiliate Marketing is a good one for beginners) and commit to it until you succeed.

So ask yourself: Do I want to build something worthwhile or watch shark-week on Discovery Channel?

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Joel Runyon October 16, 2010 at 8:34 pm

Thanks for the link david. Great lesson here. Keep at something and don’t give up but also don’t be afraid to try as many things as you need to in order to find a solution. Great post man.


David October 17, 2010 at 4:05 am

Plus: act immediately and don’t wait. Whenever you say “I’ll do it tomorrow”, chances are, you’ll never do it.

Thanks for your reply.


David Crandall October 18, 2010 at 2:32 pm

As I have continued on this journey to entrepreneur, I’ve discovered a number of words I have to eliminate from my vocabulary. One of the main ones is failure, just as you said. I’d say that is actually one of the most difficult things I’ve encountered and the single most enigmatic point for people looking in from the outside. This overwhelming belief in failure is a disease that so many people seem to be infected with.

For me, failure can not be an option if I’m to continue doing what I am. Working hard, smart, and now is the only cure I know.

Great article!


David October 19, 2010 at 4:38 am

Thanks for your comment!

The only way to fail is to give up. It might also have to do with confidence. Perhaps many people don’t even get started (or give up too early) because they think they can’t do it.


David Crandall October 19, 2010 at 4:43 pm

By the way, this post inspired my post on Monday. 😉


David October 20, 2010 at 3:10 am

That’s nice to hear, your post from Monday is badass.


Mike Tiojanco October 18, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Act now and keep at it.

Good stuff. If you’ve got a goal in mind, and take action toward that goal every single day, it becomes inevitable that you will achieve that goal.

A quote I heard last night has really been kicking my butt – “The most radical political stance you can have is to be an optimist.”

I think this applies everywhere.

What if people were so radical that they believed in what they were doing, and they believed they were going to be successful if they stuck it out?

Thanks for the good read!


David October 19, 2010 at 4:43 am

Thanks for your comment, Mike!

Maybe it’s not just discipline that is required to not give up. You certainly have to be an optimist and believe that you can achieve your goals, or you will never take action.
Noone will work his ass off without believing in success.


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