Personal Development

If You Want to Succeed, Learn Less & Fail Sooner—Huh?!

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woman shrugging indicating who cacres

“People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.”
— Samuel Johnson

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This is one of many quotes that stuck with me after I revisited Darren Hardy’s the The Compound Effect. I first read this book by the former Success magazine publisher a year ago, but it had more impact the second time.

The book (reviewed on BiggerPockets in 2013) may have resonated more because I listened to the audiobook and related book talks repeatedly for a month. Or it may be because I was ready to hear its central message: that small, consistent action is the key to success.

In either case, there are insights beyond this premise that we need to be reminded of. Two of those are to study more and fail fast.

Learn Less and Study More

In the conclusion of the audiobook, Hardy urges listeners to learn less but study more. He argues that information overload is stopping us from absorbing and acting on what we learn.

I saw this firsthand at a recent real estate meetup. I asked a want-to-be investor what niche he wants to pursue. He said he wants to be a landlord. Then he mentioned that he might want to do wholesaling because the last podcast he heard was about wholesaling.

Next, he said he might want to flip houses, too, since he’d recently read a book about flipping. So, yes, he’s picked up some knowledge, but he has no clarity.

To reduce the information overload, Hardy suggests being more strategic about what and how you learn. For example, if you are a new investor, start with an overview of the real estate specialties.

self-help, self-development, real estate investing advice, reading, books, how-to

You can download and read “The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Real Estate Investing” for free from this website.

Then choose one of those specialties, and study it. Read books, participate in forums, and listen to podcast episodes about that specialty.

Some niche-specific BiggerPockets resources worth studying include The Book on Flipping Houses by J Scott, podcast #273 “An Introduction to Passive Income Through Real Estate Note Investing with Dave Van Hornand The Book on Rental Property Investing by Brandon Turner.

For consistency, schedule a day and time to study. And make it the same day or time every week. Hardy suggests studying anything you want to learn for at least 21 days, and then graduate to 90 days.

He also advises that you take time to digest what you learn before you move to the next thing. Do this by taking notes, talking to someone else about what you’ve learned, or even blogging about it.

But please don’t use studying as an excuse not to act. If you don’t like flipping, don’t spend 21 days reading about it. Move on to another specialty.

Spend time studying the niche that you are interested in pursuing. But, don’t study endlessly. There’s no real way to know when you are ready to act, but if you find yourself still studying after a year, then you’re stalling.

Related: 4 Tips to Combat the Analysis Paralysis That Comes From TMI (Too Much Information)

Hurry Up and Fail

If you want success on a large scale, Hardy suggests that you run, not walk, toward failure.

Not so long ago, I asked a longtime REIA member about her latest deal during a club meeting. I was surprised to learn that she doesn’t own any rentals and wasn’t currently working on any deals. When I asked her why, she said, “I’m scared of making a mistake.”

Fear is something we can all relate to, but you may not be as blunt about the reason you’re stalling. You may express your fear with these kinds of excuses instead:

  • I don’t have enough money to invest.
  • My metro area is too expensive.
  • Hard money loans are too risky.


If you find these and similar excuses running through your head, remember this quote from former IBM President Thomas Watson: “The key to success is massive failure.”

In one of his book talks, Hardy explains how he tested this quote. He tells how, as a young real estate agent, he went after new clients by pursuing expired listings and properties listed as for sale by owner. He also knocked on doors and made cold calls regularly.

He got plenty of nos and doors closed on his face. But he eventually got yeses, too. As a result of experiencing so much rejection, Hardy eventually became the No. 1 agent in his office. And then a millionaire in his 20s!

He found that running toward failure, rather than away from it, led to more success.

Related: 3 Ways to Succeed Despite Failure (Video With Tim Ferriss!)

The Bottom Line

If you’ve educated yourself enough but are hampered by fear, then you should make it your mission to fail. Remember that you cannot avoid making mistakes. And there is only so much you can learn from other people’s mistakes!

So be afraid, and go fail anyway. The sooner you fail, the sooner you will have success.

How have you approached your real estate education and failure?

Leave a comment below!


Suzie Remilien is a landlord, personal finance enthusiast, and writer/editor. She began investing in real estate in 2014 and focuses on residential buy and hold properties and mortgage notes. She c...
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    Jackie Bowser
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Good info from everyone
    Erik Noraas from Maple Grove, Minnesota
    Replied over 1 year ago
    I remember a story from Rich Dad Poor Dad- “Fail Faster” This reminds me of that.