Everything Miz Meliz, Somethin' Different

Goldenberg’s 10 Rules of Spectacular Failure

If you want to learn how to succeed in business, you have many options. Read Richard Carlson’s Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and you’ll learn “it’s all small stuff.” You can find pearls of wisdom for a successful working life in the daily musings of social media and new age guru Seth Godin. And if you want to give your confidence and career a jolt, try a cup of Jeffrey Gitomer’s tasty Sales Caffeine.
Sure, you’ve got innumerable options to learn how to succeed in your professional life. But is anyone teaching you how to be a spectacular failure? I don’t think so.Failure has become a lost art. Why, if it weren’t for Congress’ fine example, we might have not even have a role model for abject failure.But it doesn’t have to be that way. I can teach you how to be a successful failure. If you follow my 10 Rules of Spectacular Failure, I can practically guarantee you’ll end up unsuccessful, disappointed and lonely. And if you never bathe, you’ll smell bad, too.

So, if a lack of success and accomplishment sounds like a good career move to you, read on. Discover how the secrets of showing up late, banal thinking and lack of courage can lead to your utter downfall.

Goldenberg’s 10 Rules of Spectacular Failure

1.   Give up.

Abe Lincoln Logs

It was recently discovered Abe Lincoln was born in a log cabin made entirely of Lincoln Logs

This is the easiest Rule to master. There’s so little to do. Just give up. No matter how easy or hard the challenge, you just need a “That’s it, I quit” attitude. It may help to remember the motto of those who never made it to the top: “When the going gets tough, get the hell out of there fast!”

Abe Lincoln was a successful failure in the early part of his life. In his youth, he went to war as a captain and returned as a private. He failed as a businessman twice and lost eight elections. Eight elections! But he refused to give up. And look where it got him.

2.  Listen to others.

This one’s a little tricky. When others tell you you’ll never succeed, you may hear a voice inside your head that says, “Go on. Give it a shot. What have we got to lose?” Ignore the voice or you’ll end up like Walter Elias Disney, a newspaperman from Chicago.

Walt Disney and the Seven Dwarfs

In his autobiography, Disney revealed the Seven dwarfs were all drug addicts. Happy, Dopey, Sleepy, Sneezy, Bashful and Grumpy. Doc was the dealer.

Walt Disney was fired as a newspaper editor because he was told he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Now he could have thought to himself, “They must be right. What was I thinking? Maybe I am a little Goofy.”

But he refused to believe his ideas were “Mickey Mouse.”  The rest of his life he went from one job to another, in movies, then in TV, and eventually he ended up in a theme park. What a life!

3.  Believe you can’t.

If you want to be a successful failure, you’re going to have to ignore any signs of self-confidence. Cover over any potential you have with self-doubt, negativity and denial.

I’m warning you, if you don’t follow my advice, you could end up like little Albert from Ulm, Germany. Albert didn’t speak until he was four and he couldn’t read until he was seven. People who knew him thought he was handicapped, slow and would never amount to anything.

Albert Einstein

When the world’s greatest scientists couldn’t understand Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, he reportedly stuck out his tongue out and said, “Na na na boo boo!”

No wonder he was expelled from one school and refused admittance to another. He should have realized he was the definitive under-achiever. But Albert Einstein let his confidence get the best of him, relatively speaking. In the latter part of his life, Einstein was forced to make a living the only way he knew how, by posing for posters with his tongue stuck out.

4. Be afraid of failing.

Here’s a surefire way to become a failure. Just be afraid to fail. Let the challenge scare you so much, you give up and give in. Ignore the advice of media and motivational guru Seth Godin who said, “Failure isn’t fatal. You’ve got to fail to succeed.”

Henry Ford was a spectacular failure for much of his life. At 15, he dropped out of school and became a farmer. He failed at that and became a mechanic. He failed at that and started repairing clocks and watches.

He failed at that and went back to farming. Even when he tried to invent a “horseless carriage,” he failed time

Henry Ford drives an early car

Henry Ford drove a Model T in his first automobile ride, but was unable to reach his destination because Motel 6 hadn’t been invented yet

and again, at one point losing all his investors’ money without producing a car.

But Henry Ford was never afraid to fail. After all, he had so much practice. He eventually produced a workable car, the Models T & A, and an assembly line system that revolutionized manufacturing. See? His life went nowhere.

5. Don’t be curious

Studies have shown that successful people seem to be curious about the world around them. They ask a lot of questions and explore everything. They love learning and live in a state of wonder, surprise and delight

Conversely, many people who fail are not that interested in discovering or exploring all the world has to offer. So avoid exposure to new people, places and things, and find nothing that inspires you, and with any luck at all you’ll fall flat on your face and never be heard from again. Steven Spielberg was an inquisitive child. I’m not exactly sure what he did with his life, but I know he spends a lot of time in movies and apparently “phoning home.”

STAN: He must have changed his meds.
HARRIETT: What are you talking about?
STAN: Golberg. Goldenberg. Whatever you call him. The hack who writes this blog. Dr. Suess must have upped his medication.
HARRIETT: Dr. Suess?
STAN: Dr. Suess. Dr. Scholls. Dr. Pepper. Who knows what quack Goldberg is seeing now?
HARRIETT: I don’t see what you’re complaining about. I think today’s blog is very well written.
STAN: That’s just it, Harriett. I like the old Goldenberg. Oops, sorry, I got his name right. He was all over the place. You couldn’t follow his ADHD-addled brain from one paragraph to the next if you were Scotland Yard.
HARRIETT: So you liked it better when he was hard to follow, disjointed and all of the place?
STAN: Sure, it was part of my master plan. I figured eventually his so called brilliant Readers would kick his a** outta here and they’d ask me write the blog.
HARRIETT: You? (HARRIETT DIDN’T WANT TO BE MEAN, BUT SHE COULDN’T HOLD BACK A LAUGH.) Was there any more to your master plan?
STAN: Well, I thought maybe, if I were writing this blog, you’d fall in love with me, marry me and we’d settle down and have a baby.
HARRIETT: But Stan, how many times do I have to tell you? You’re not real! You’re just some character in Jack’s head. You’re imaginary!
STAN: So, then we could have an imaginary baby.
HARRIETT: And how would you propose we do that?
STAN: I don’t know. I guess we could start with imaginary sex.
HARRIETT: Hmmm. Imaginary sex? I think I like that idea. You mind if we go someplace where the Readers can’t see us?
STAN: Sure.


STAN: Harriett, I think this is the start of a beautiful relationship.
HARRIETT: Don’t push it, Stan. I just goin’ for the sex.


Where was I? Oh, I remember.

6. Be too old to succeed.

If you’re 50 or above, why not just admit your productive working days are over. They’re kaput. Finito! Stick a fork in you, you’re done! Use your time to complain about those young whippersnappers who have texted your career into oblivion and get in line early for the 4 p.m. blue plate special.

Something went terribly wrong the first time Col. Sanders tried to invent KFC and instead he created White Castle

Of course, that’s not what Harland Sanders did and for a most of his life, he was anything but a success. He tried his hand at numerous careers including steamboat pilot, streetcar conductor, farmer, service station operator and insurance salesman.

At the age of 40, Sanders cooked chicken dishes for people who stopped at his little service station in Corbin, Kentucky. Fifteen years later, that business failed too when Interstate 95 rerouted traffic.

Did Harland Sanders give up? Was he too old to succeed? Nope, at age 64, he took his secret recipe for “finger-lickin’ chicken” and, with a $105 check he had from Social Security, he started selling franchises in Kentucky Fried Chicken.

As it turned out, Colonel Harland Sanders didn’t just have a bucket list of things he wanted to accomplish, he had a bucket filled with chicken. Hold the gravy!

7. Don’t stretch your limits.

Why challenge yourself? If you want to fail, just accept the hand nature has dealt you. If you continually challenge yourself, you’re liable to succeed in spite of yourself. The world is full of successful people who refused to follow this sage advice.

Michael Jordan

Although Michael Jordan gave up Knock Hockey to become one of the greatest basketball players of all time

Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team because of a lack of athletic talent. Comedienne Lucile Ball was dismissed from drama school because she was “too shy to put her best foot forward.”

And then there was Thomas Edison. A teacher told him he was “too stupid to learn anything.” He advised Edison to “take up a simple profession that wouldn’t tax his limited abilities.”

If Edison had refused to stretch his limits, we’d all be sitting here texting by candlelight and playing Angry Birds in the dark.

8. Let a disability hold you back.

Nobody’s perfect, but many people suffer from severe disabilities that should, for all intents and purposes, threaten their ability to succeed. If you’ve got a physical or mental illness, no one would blame you for  giving in and giving up.

Throughout history, many people who’ve failed at failing refused to let their disability hold them back from what they wanted to accomplish. Alexander Graham Bell had a learning disability, Cher has dyslexia, President Franklin Roosevelt had polio and Ludwig Van Beethoven was deaf in the latter part of his life.

9.  Be the problem. Not the solution.

A lot of people have mastered this Rule. You probably work with some of them. You know the type. They bitch and complain all day long, but never offer up a suggested solution. What a perfect way to fail.

Senator Robert Kennedy inspired generations of Americans when he re-quoted George Bernard Shaw’s line, “Some men see things as they are and say why? I dream things that never were and say, why not?

If you want to fail and see others fail around you, identify the problem, complain out it, then do absolutely nothing to solve it.

10.  Oh, Damn! I’ve failed to come up with the 10th Rule of Spectacular Failure.

What can I say? Sure, I wanted to come up with 10 Rules of Spectacular Failure, but I just gave up. Anyway, it’s not my fault, it’s somebody else’s. It was too hard, too difficult and I just didn’t think I had what it takes to get the job done. Besides some people told me I’d never come up with Rule #10. Guess I proved them right. At least I’m successful at something.

Miz Melizsays:

February 29, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Dear Jack,  I loved this! I think you are a nut and that makes me love you more! You know you have reached Rock Star status when these things start getting passed around at work! I got it in my email at work today. Someone had edited out the Stan and Harriett bit and sent it to everyone in their email contact list that is working on a fundraising project together. Lighthearted and inspirational!! Brilliant! I asked if I could re-post it on my blog. The sender did not know the original source. . . so I Googled “Goldenberg’s 10″ and I am so happy I did!!
Do you have any advice for a relatively new blogger looking for an audience? And . . . May I re-post your brilliant list on my blog athttp://mizmeliz.com ?

  • March 1, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Miz, Thanks for your great comments. What higher compliment could I aspire to that to be deemed “a nut” joining the ranks of Jerry Lewis, The Marx Brothers and, of course, Fil Bert. I checked out your blog quickly, but will come back and take a more careful read. It’s looks like it’s very well done and yes, you ARE a writer. Also, I’ll come back and post a more detailed comment later. I really appreciate hearing that my blog was passed around your office even if they did cut out Stan and Harriett. TTYL Jack

  • Miz Melizsays:

    March 3, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Hi Jack! I am glad you took my calling you a nut as a compliment as it was meant to be! I believe we are all nuts and it is the new normal. Some of us are tough nuts to crack and others are real nut jobs. . . but you are like Mr. Peanut, quite the gentleman! Thanks for looking at my blog, an honor for me, truly! I have made a few changes and I am gearing up for guests posts. I would like to include your 10 rules and seeing how it is being passed around anyway, I am sure it is okay. However, I will wait for the okay from you personally. I look forward to hearing from you soon, fondly, Meliz

  • March 3, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    Hey Miz,

    It would be an honor–see it works both ways–to have you run my 10 Rules of Spectacular Failure on your blog. And if you need to cut out Stan and Harriet since they may be taken out of context by some Readers (don’t know why), that’s OK. Stan has been threatening to not appear on my blog unless I pay him, so whether he comes back again or not is a mystery, even to me. I just hope Stan stays well and doesn’t get in a skiing accident, get amnesia and then forget who he is. Hey, it could happen! Jack


2 thoughts on “Goldenberg’s 10 Rules of Spectacular Failure”

  1. Jack, I’m linking to your list – Stan, Harriet, and all – in my Sunday link dump post this week. Your list is a perfect reminder to ignore those negative voices that we all hear from time time to time.

    I guess I’m asking for forgiveness rather than permission. If it’s a problem, I’ll gladly remove it.

    Miz Meliz, I’m so glad we’ve met through So Cal Lady Bloggers and that you posted Jack’s list.

    Both of you please have a great weekend! Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

    1. Thanks Sidney! Yes, this is a terrific reminder of how sticking to it and trying again and again is an important process on the road to success! Jack Goldberg is brilliant!

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