If you're challenging yourself and taking on risks, you're probably not going to bat 100%. Sometimes you'll have missteps and you'll mess up. The resulting feelings of self-doubt you'll encounter are inevitable, but how you handle them is entirely up to you.

I think this is all natural, and maybe even necessary. Just like how there's such a thing as an optimal fraud rate for a payments processor, maybe there's such a thing as an optimal failure rate. There's a reason it feels bad when you mess up, but far more concerning than a small mistake is the inability to recognize a mistake.

So, if you're going to challenge yourself more and more, you're probably going to have more moments when you feel dumb. So you'll need a ritual for working with it. Ask: 1) how did you want it to turn out? 2) how did it turn out? 3) why, and what would you do differently next time?

Great, we've processed it. Failure still sucks but it's probably not anathema. Let's not make the same mistake again. But zoom out now: you've done great things before and you'll do great things again: no use in trying to chalk this one up as a win. And trying to convince yourself it's a win probably won't work, but you're welcome to try.

So you're dealing with the recency bias and focused on a mistake. Sit with it and then do something to remember who you are and how far you've come. That's where your niceties closet comes in.

It's simple. Here's what you do:

  1. Create a folder on your desktop (or anywhere easily accessible) and call it "niceties"
  2. When something good happens, take a screenshot and put it in your niceties folder.
  3. Whenever something doesn't work and you're feeling overly self-critical, pause for second, look through your niceties folder, and remember how far you've come already. This isn't the first time this happens and it probably won't be the last.

Now get back to it. 🚀