GST Council Meet Updates 28.06.2022


Tax Rates revision approved

  • Tax @ 18% on cheques, lose or in book form
  • Witdrawal of exemption on services by department of posts except post cards, envelopes less than 10 gm
  • Increase in GST on e-waste from 5% to 18%
  • Withdrawal of exemption to services provided by RBI, Sebi, IRDAI, FSSAI
  • Hotel accommodation below Rs 1,000 be taxed at 12%
  • Withdrawal on GST exemption on storage and warehousing of taxable goods like sugar, natural fiber
  • Withdrawal of exemption on services like fumigation of warehouses
  • Withdrawal of exemption to business class air travel for northeastern states
  • Withdrawal of exemptions on road and rail transport, when such services are input for business
  • Withdrawal of exemption on services by way of slaughtering of animals
  • Input tax credit Refund on account of inverted duty structure in edible oils, coal disallowed.
  • GST Council approves to replace the term ‘branded’ with ‘pre packaged and labelled’ for retail sale to avoid disputes. (Branded cereals, food attract 5% GST currently)
  • Exemption for food items, cereals sold loose or unlabeled continued.
  • Tax increased LED lamps, ink, knives, blades, power driven pumps, dairy machinery from 12% to 18%
  • Tax increased on milling machinery for cereals from 5% to 18%
  • Tax increased on solar water heater, finished leather from 5% to 12%
  • Tax increased on work contract services supplied to govt, local authorities to 18% to correct inversion
  • Tax increased on specified goods for petroleum from 5% to 12% on input goods to correct inversion

The Habits Scorecard: Use This Simple Exercise to Discover Which Habits You Should Change

written by JAMES CLEAR

BEHAVIORAL PSYCHOLOGY HABITS

This article is an excerpt from Atomic Habits, my New York Times bestselling book.

The Japanese railway system is regarded as one of the best in the world. If you ever find yourself riding a train in Tokyo, you’ll notice that the conductors have a peculiar habit.

As each operator runs the train, they proceed through a ritual of pointing at different objects and calling out commands. When the train approaches a signal, the operator will point at it and say, “Signal is green.” As the train pulls into and out of each station, the operator will point at the speedometer and call out the exact speed. When it’s time to leave, the operator will point at the timetable and state the time. Out on the platform, other employees are performing similar actions. Before each train departs, staff members will point along the edge of the platform and declare, “All clear!” Every detail is identified, pointed at, and named aloud.

This process, known as Pointing-and-Calling, is a safety system designed to reduce mistakes. It seems silly, but it works incredibly well. Pointing-and-Calling reduces errors by up to 85 percent and cuts accidents by 30 percent. The MTA subway system in New York City adopted a modified version that is “point-only,” and “within two years of implementation, incidents of incorrectly berthed subways fell 57 percent.”

Pointing-and-Calling Your Habits

Pointing-and-Calling is so effective because it raises the level of awareness from a nonconscious habit to a more conscious level. Because the train operators must use their eyes, hands, mouth, and ears, they are more likely to notice problems before something goes wrong.

My wife does something similar. Whenever we are preparing to walk out the door for a trip, she verbally calls out the most essential items in her packing list. “I’ve got my keys. I’ve got my wallet. I’ve got my glasses. I’ve got my husband.”

The more automatic a behavior becomes, the less likely we are to consciously think about it. And when we’ve done something a thousand times before, we begin to overlook things. We assume that the next time will be just like the last. We’re so used to doing what we’ve always done that we don’t stop to question whether it’s the right thing to do at all. Many of our failures in performance are largely attributable to a lack of self-awareness.

One of our greatest challenges in changing habits is maintaining awareness of what we are actually doing. This helps explain why the consequences of bad habits can sneak up on us. We need a “point-and-call” system for our personal lives. That’s the origin of the Habits Scorecard, which is a simple exercise you can use to become more aware of your behavior.

The Habits Scorecard

To create your own Habits Scorecard, start by making a list of your daily habits.

Here’s a sample of where your list might start:

  • Wake up
  • Turn off alarm
  • Check my phone
  • Go to the bathroom
  • Weigh myself
  • Take a shower
  • Brush my teeth
  • Floss my teeth
  • Put on deodorant
  • Hang up towel to dry
  • Get dressed
  • Make a cup of tea

… and so on.

Once you have a full list, look at each behavior, and ask yourself, “Is this a good habit, a bad habit, or a neutral habit?” If it is a good habit, write “+” next to it. If it is a bad habit, write “–”. If it is a neutral habit, write “=”.

For example, the list above might look like this:

  • Wake up =
  • Turn off alarm =
  • Check my phone –
  • Go to the bathroom =
  • Weigh myself +
  • Take a shower +
  • Brush my teeth +
  • Floss my teeth +
  • Put on deodorant +
  • Hang up towel to dry =
  • Get dressed =
  • Make a cup of tea +

The marks you give to a particular habit will depend on your situation and your goals. For someone who is trying to lose weight, eating a bagel with peanut butter every morning might be a bad habit. For someone who is trying to bulk up and add muscle, the same behavior might be a good habit. It all depends on what you’re working toward.

How Do I Know if a Habit is Good or Bad?

Scoring your habits can be a bit more complex for another reason as well.

The labels “good habit” and “bad habit” are slightly inaccurate. There are no good habits or bad habits. There are only effective habits. That is, effective at solving problems. All habits serve you in some way—even the bad ones—which is why you repeat them.

When completing your Habits Scorecard, however, you can categorize your habits by how they will benefit you in the long run. Generally speaking, good habits will have net positive outcomes. Bad habits have net negative outcomes. Smoking a cigarette may reduce stress right now (that’s how it’s serving you), but it’s not a healthy long-term behavior.

If you’re still having trouble determining how to rate a particular habit, here is a question I like to use: “Does this behavior help me become the type of person I wish to be? Does this habit cast a vote for or against my desired identity?” Habits that reinforce your desired identity are usually good. Habits that conflict with your desired identity are typically bad.

Where to Go From Here

As you create your Habits Scorecard, there is no need to change anything at first. The goal is to simply notice what is actually going on. Observe your thoughts and actions without judgment or internal criticism. Don’t blame yourself for your faults. Don’t praise yourself for your successes.

If you eat a chocolate bar every morning, acknowledge it, almost as if you were watching someone else. Oh, how interesting that they would do such a thing. If you binge-eat, simply notice that you are eating more calories than you should. If you waste time online, notice that you are spending your life in a way that you do not want to.

The process of behavior change always starts with awareness. Strategies like Pointing-and-Calling and the Habits Scorecard are focused on getting you to recognize your habits and acknowledge the cues that trigger them, which makes it easier to discover which habits you should change and respond in a way that benefits you.

This article is an excerpt from Chapter 4 of my New York Times bestselling book Atomic Habits. Read more here

Ev capital of india

The 1 Percent Rule: Why a Few People Get Most of the Rewards

written by JAMES CLEAR

CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT FEATURED HABITS

Sometime in the late 1800s—nobody is quite sure exactly when—a man named Vilfredo Pareto was fussing about in his garden when he made a small but interesting discovery.

Pareto noticed that a tiny number of pea pods in his garden produced the majority of the peas.

Now, Pareto was a very mathematical fellow. He worked as an economist and one of his lasting legacies was turning economics into a science rooted in hard numbers and facts. Unlike many economists of the time, Pareto’s papers and books were filled with equations. And the peas in his garden had set his mathematical brain in motion.

What if this unequal distribution was present in other areas of life as well?

Vilfredo Pareto

The Pareto Principle

At the time, Pareto was studying wealth in various nations. As he was Italian, he began by analyzing the distribution of wealth in Italy. To his surprise, he discovered that approximately 80 percent of the land in Italy was owned by just 20 percent of the people. Similar to the pea pods in his garden, most of the resources were controlled by a minority of the players.

Pareto continued his analysis in other nations and a pattern began to emerge. For instance, after poring through the British income tax records, he noticed that approximately 30 percent of the population in Great Britain earned about 70 percent of the total income.

As he continued researching, Pareto found that the numbers were never quite the same, but the trend was remarkably consistent. The majority of rewards always seemed to accrue to a small percentage of people. This idea that a small number of things account for the majority of the results became known as the Pareto Principle or, more commonly, the 80/20 Rule.

Inequality, Everywhere

In the decades that followed, Pareto’s work practically became gospel for economists. Once he opened the world’s eyes to this idea, people started seeing it everywhere. And the 80/20 Rule is more prevalent now than ever before.

For example, through the 2015-2016 season in the National Basketball Association, 20 percent of franchises have won 75.3 percent of the championships. Furthermore, just two franchises—the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers—have won nearly half of all the championships in NBA history. Like Pareto’s pea pods, a few teams account for the majority of the rewards.

The numbers are even more extreme in soccer. While 77 different nations have competed in the World Cup, just three countries—Brazil, Germany, and Italy—have won 13 of the first 20 World Cup tournaments.

Examples of the Pareto Principle exist in everything from real estate to income inequality to tech startups. In the 1950s, three percent of Guatemalans owned 70 percent of the land in Guatemala. In 2013, 8.4 percent of the world population controlled 83.3 percent of the world’s wealth. In 2015, one search engine, Google, received 64 percent of search queries.

Why does this happen? Why do a few people, teams, and organizations enjoy the bulk of the rewards in life? To answer this question, let’s consider an example from nature.

The Power of Accumulative Advantage

The Amazon rainforest is one of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth. Scientists have cataloged approximately 16,000 different tree species in the Amazon. But despite this remarkable level of diversity, researchers have discovered that there are approximately 227 “hyperdominant” tree species that make up nearly half of the rainforest. Just 1.4 percent of tree species account for 50 percent of the trees in the Amazon.

But why?

Imagine two plants growing side by side. Each day they will compete for sunlight and soil. If one plant can grow just a little bit faster than the other, then it can stretch taller, catch more sunlight, and soak up more rain. The next day, this additional energy allows the plant to grow even more. This pattern continues until the stronger plant crowds the other out and takes the lion’s share of sunlight, soil, and nutrients.

From this advantageous position, the winning plant has a better ability to spread seeds and reproduce, which gives the species an even bigger footprint in the next generation. This process gets repeated again and again until the plants that are slightly better than the competition dominate the entire forest.

Scientists refer to this effect as “accumulative advantage.” What begins as a small advantage gets bigger over time. One plant only needs a slight edge in the beginning to crowd out the competition and take over the entire forest.

Winner-Take-All Effects

Something similar happens in our lives.

Like plants in the rainforest, humans are often competing for the same resources. Politicians compete for the same votes. Authors compete for the same spot at the top of the best-seller list. Athletes compete for the same gold medal. Companies compete for the same potential client. Television shows compete for the same hour of your attention.

The difference between these options can be razor thin, but the winners enjoy massively outsized rewards.

Imagine two women swimming in the Olympics. One of them might be 1/100th of a second faster than the other, but she gets all of the gold medal. Ten companies might pitch a potential client, but only one of them will win the project. You only need to be a little bit better than the competition to secure all of the reward. Or, perhaps you are applying for a new job. Two hundred candidates might compete for the same role, but being just slightly better than other candidates earns you the entire position.

Situations in which small differences in performance lead to outsized rewards are known as Winner-Take-All Effects.

These situations in which small differences in performance lead to outsized rewards are known as Winner-Take-All Effects. They typically occur in situations that involve relative comparison, where your performance relative to those around you is the determining factor in your success.

Not everything in life is a Winner-Take-All competition, but nearly every area of life is at least partially affected by limited resources. Any decision that involves using a limited resource like time or money will naturally result in a winner-take-all situation.

In situations like these, being just a little bit better than the competition can lead to outsized rewards because the winner takes all. You only win by 1 percent or 1 second or 1 dollar, but you capture 100 percent of the victory. The advantage of being a little bit better is not a little bit more reward, but the entire reward. The winner gets one and the rest get zero.

Winner Take All Effects

Winner-Take-All Leads to Winner-Take-Most

Winner-Take-All Effects in individual competitions can lead to Winner-Take-Most Effects in the larger game of life.

From this advantageous position—with the gold medal in hand or with cash in the bank or from the chair of the Oval Office—the winner begins the process of accumulating advantages that make it easier for them to win the next time around. What began as a small margin is starting to trend toward the 80/20 Rule.

If one road is slightly more convenient than the other, then more people travel down it and more businesses are likely to build alongside it. As more businesses are built, people have additional reasons for using the road and so it gets even more traffic. Soon you end up with a saying like, “20 percent of the roads receive 80 percent of the traffic.”

If one business has a technology that is more innovative than another, then more people will buy their products. As the business makes more money, they can invest in additional technology, pay higher salaries, and hire better people. By the time the competition catches up, there are other reasons for customers to stick with the first business. Soon, one company dominates the industry.

If one author hits the best-seller list, then publishers will be more interested in their next book. When the second book comes out, the publisher will put more resources and marketing power behind it, which makes it easier to hit the best-seller list for a second time. Soon, you begin to understand why a few books sell millions of copies while the majority struggle to sell a few thousand copies.

The margin between good and great is narrower than it seems. What begins as a slight edge over the competition compounds with each additional contest.

The margin between good and great is narrower than it seems. What begins as a slight edge over the competition compounds with each additional contest. Winning one competition improves your odds of winning the next. Each additional cycle further cements the status of those at the top.

Over time, those that are slightly better end up with the majority of the rewards. Those that are slightly worse end up with next to nothing. This idea is sometimes referred to as The Matthew Effect, which references a passage in The Bible that says, “For all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.”

Now, let’s come back to the question I posed near the beginning of this article. Why do a few people, teams, and organizations enjoy the bulk of the rewards in life?

The 1 Percent Rule

Small differences in performance can lead to very unequal distributions when repeated over time. This is yet another reason why habits are so important. The people and organizations that can do the right things, more consistently are more likely to maintain a slight edge and accumulate disproportionate rewards over time.

You only need to be slightly better than your competition, but if you are able to maintain a slight edge today and tomorrow and the day after that, then you can repeat the process of winning by just a little bit over and over again. And thanks to Winner-Take-All Effects, each win delivers outsized rewards.

We can call this The 1 Percent Rule. The 1 Percent Rule states that over time the majority of the rewards in a given field will accumulate to the people, teams, and organizations that maintain a 1 percent advantage over the alternatives. You don’t need to be twice as good to get twice the results. You just need to be slightly better.

The 1 Percent Rule is not merely a reference to the fact that small differences accumulate into significant advantages, but also to the idea that those who are 1 percent better rule their respective fields and industries. Thus, the process of accumulative advantage is the hidden engine that drives the 80/20 Rule.

The 3 Stages of Failure in Life and Work (And How to Fix Them)

written by JAMES CLEAR

DECISION MAKING

One of the hardest things in life is to know when to keep going and when to move on.

On the one hand, perseverance and grit are key to achieving success in any field. Anyone who masters their craft will face moments of doubt and somehow find the inner resolve to keep going. If you want to build a successful business or create a great marriage or learn a new skill then “sticking with it” is perhaps the most critical trait to possess.

On the other hand, telling someone to never give up is terrible advice. Successful people give up all the time. If something is not working, smart people don’t repeat it endlessly. They revise. They adjust. They pivot. They quit. As the saying goes, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Life requires both strategies. Sometimes you need to display unwavering confidence and double down on your efforts. Sometimes you need to abandon the things that aren’t working and try something new. The key question is: how do you know when to give up and when to stick with it?

One way to answer this question is to use a framework I call the 3 Stages of Failure.

3 Stages of Failure

The 3 Stages of Failure

This framework helps clarify things by breaking down challenges into three stages of failure:

  1. Stage 1 is a Failure of Tactics. These are HOW mistakes. They occur when you fail to build robust systems, forget to measure carefully, and get lazy with the details. A Failure of Tactics is a failure to execute on a good plan and a clear vision.
  2. Stage 2 is a Failure of Strategy. These are WHAT mistakes. They occur when you follow a strategy that fails to deliver the results you want. You can know why you do the things you do and you can know how to do the work, but still choose the wrong what to make it happen.
  3. Stage 3 is a Failure of Vision. These are WHY mistakes. They occur when you don’t set a clear direction for yourself, follow a vision that doesn’t fulfill you, or otherwise fail to understand why you do the things you do.

In the rest of this article, I’ll share a story, solution, and summary for each stage of failure. My hope is that the 3 Stages of Failure framework will help you navigate the tricky decision of deciding when to quit and when to stick with it. It’s not perfect, but I hope you find it to be useful.

3 Stages of Failure explained

Stage 1: A Failure of Tactics

Sam Carpenter became a small business owner in 1984. Using $5,000 as a down payment, he purchased a struggling business in Bend, Oregon and renamed it Centratel.

Centratel provided 24/7 telephone answering service for doctors, veterinarians, and other businesses that needed the phones to be answered at all hours, but couldn’t afford to pay a staff member to sit at the desk constantly. When he bought the business, Carpenter hoped that Centratel “would someday be the highest-quality telephone answering service in the United States.”

Things did not go as expected. In a 2012 interview, Carpenter described his first decade and a half of entrepreneurship by saying,

“I was literally working 80 to 100 hours a week for 15 years. I was a single parent of two kids, believe it or not. I was very sick. I was on all kinds of antidepressants and so forth…

I was going to miss a payroll and lose my entire company. If you can just imagine a nervous wreck, physical wreck, and then multiply that by ten, that’s what I was. It was a horrible time.”

One night, just before he was about to miss payroll, Carpenter had a realization. His business was struggling because it completely lacked the systems it needed to achieve optimal performance. In Carpenter’s words, “We were having all kinds of problems because everybody was doing it the way that they thought was best.”

Carpenter reasoned that if he could perfect his systems, then his staff could spend each day following best practices instead of constantly putting out fires. He immediately began writing down every process within the business.

“For instance,” he said. “We have a nine-step procedure for answering the phone at the front desk. Everybody does it that way, it’s 100% the best way to do it, and we’ve taken an organic system and made it mechanical, and made it perfect.”

Over the next two years, Carpenter recorded and revised every process in the company. How to make a sales presentation. How to deposit a check. How to pay client invoices. How to process payroll. He created a manual that any employee could pick up and follow for any procedure within the company—system by system, step by step.

What happened?

Carpenter’s workweek rapidly decreased from 100 hours per week to less than 10 hours per week. He was no longer needed to handle every emergency because there was a procedure to guide employees in each situation. As the quality of their work improved, Centratel raised their prices and the company’s profit margin exploded to 40 percent.

Today, Centratel has grown to nearly 60 employees and recently celebrated its 30th year in business. Carpenter now works just two hours per week.

Fixing a Failure of Tactics

A Failure of Tactics is a HOW problem. In Centratel’s case, they had a clear vision (to be “the highest-quality telephone answering service in the United States”) and a good strategy (the market for telephone answering services was large), but they didn’t know how to execute their strategy and vision.

There are three primary ways to fix Failures of Tactics.

  1. Record your process.
  2. Measure your outcomes.
  3. Review and adjust your tactics.

Record your process. McDonald’s has more than 35,000 locations worldwide. Why can they plug-and-play new employees while still delivering a consistent product? Because they have killer systems in place for every process. Whether you’re running a business, parenting a family, or managing your own life, building great systems is crucial for repeated success. It all starts with writing down each specific step of the process and developing a checklist you can follow when life gets crazy.

Measure your outcomes. If something is important to you, measure it. If you’re an entrepreneur, measure how many sales calls you make each day. If you’re a writer, measure how frequently you publish a new article. If you’re a weightlifter, measure how often you train. If you never measure your results, how will you know which tactics are working?

Review and adjust your tactics. The fatiguing thing about Stage 1 failures is that they never stop. Tactics that used to work will become obsolete. Tactics that were a bad idea previously might be a good idea now. You need to be constantly reviewing and improving how you do your work. Successful people routinely give up on tactics that don’t move their strategy and vision forward. Fixing a Failure of Tactics is not a one time job, it is a lifestyle.

Stage 2: A Failure of Strategy

It was March of 1999. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, had just announced that his company would launch a new service called Amazon Auctions to help people sell “virtually anything online.” The idea was to create something that could compete with eBay. Bezos knew there were millions of people with goods to sell and he wanted Amazon to be the place where those transactions happened.

Greg Linden, a software engineer for Amazon at the time, recalled the project by saying, “Behind the scenes, this was a herculean effort. People from around the company were pulled off their projects. The entire Auctions site, with all the features of eBay and more, was built from scratch. It was designed, architected, developed, tested, and launched in under three months.”

Amazon Auctions was a spectacular failure. Just six months after launch, management realized the project was going nowhere. In September 1999, they scrambled to release a new offering called Amazon zShops. This version of the idea allowed anyone from big companies to individuals to set up an online shop and sell goods through Amazon.

Again, Amazon swung and missed. Neither Amazon Auctions nor Amazon zShops are running today. In December 2014, Bezos referred to the failed projects by saying, “I’ve made billions of dollars of failures at Amazon.com. Literally billions.”

Undaunted, Amazon tried yet again to create a platform for third-party sellers. In November 2000, they launched Amazon Marketplace, which allowed individuals to sell used products alongside Amazon’s new items. For example, a small bookstore could list their used textbooks directly alongside new ones from Amazon.

It worked. Marketplace was a runaway success. In 2015, Amazon Marketplace accounted for nearly 50 percent of the $107 billion in sales on Amazon.com.

Fixing a Failure of Strategy

A Failure of Strategy is a WHAT problem. By 1999, Amazon had a clear vision to “be earth’s most customer centric company.” They were also masters of getting things done, which is why they were able to roll Amazon Auctions out in just three months. The why and how were handled, but the what was unknown.

There are three primary ways to fix Failures of Strategy.

  1. Launch it quickly.
  2. Do it cheaply.
  3. Revise it rapidly.

Launch it quickly. Some ideas work much better than others, but nobody really knows which ideas work until you try them. Nobody knows ahead of time—not venture capitalists, not the intelligent folks at Amazon, not your friends or family members. All of the planning and research and design is just pretext. I love Paul Graham’s take on this: “You haven’t really started working on [your idea] till you’ve launched.”

Because of this, it is critical to launch strategies quickly. The faster you test a strategy in the real world, the faster you get feedback on whether or not it works. Note the timeline Amazon operated on: Amazon Auctions was released in March 1999. Amazon zShops was released in September 1999. Amazon Marketplace was released in November 2000. Three huge attempts within 20 months.

Do it cheaply. Assuming you have achieved some minimum level of quality, it is best to test new strategies cheaply. Failing cheaply increases your surface area for success because it means that you can test more ideas. Additionally, doing things cheaply serves another crucial purpose. It reduces your attachment to a particular idea. If you invest a lot of time and money into a particular strategy, it will be hard to give it up on that strategy. The more energy you put into something, the more ownership you feel toward it. Bad business ideas, toxic relationships, and destructive habits of all kinds can be hard to let go once they become part of your identity. Testing new strategies cheaply avoids these pitfalls and increases the likelihood that you will follow the strategy that works best rather than the one you have invested in the most.

Revise it rapidly. Strategies are meant to be revised and adjusted. You’d be hard pressed to find a successful entrepreneur, artist, or creator who is doing exactly the same thing today as when they started. Starbucks sold coffee supplies and espresso machines for over a decade before opening their own stores. 37 Signals started as a web design firm before pivoting into a software company that is worth over $100M today. Nintendo made playing cards and vacuum cleaners before it stole the hearts of video game lovers everywhere.

Too many entrepreneurs think if their first business idea is a failure, they aren’t cut out for it. Too many artists assume that if their early work doesn’t get praised, they don’t have the skill required. Too many people believe if their first two or three relationships are bad, they will never find love.

Imagine if the forces of nature worked that way. What if Mother Nature only gave herself one shot at creating life? We’d all just be single-celled organisms. Thankfully, that’s not how evolution works. For millions of years, life has been adapting, evolving, revising, and iterating until it has reached the diverse and varied species that inhabit our planet today. It is not the natural course of things to figure it all out on the first try.

So if your original idea is a failure and you feel like you’re constantly revising and adjusting, cut yourself a break. Changing your strategy is normal. It is literally the way the world works. You have to stay on the bus.

Stage 3: A Failure of Vision

Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in Massachusetts in 1803. His father was a minister in the Unitarian Church, which was a relatively popular branch of Christianity at the time.

Like his father, Emerson attended Harvard and became an ordained pastor. Unlike his father, he found himself disagreeing with many of the church’s teachings after a few years on the inside. Emerson debated heavily with church leaders before eventually writing, “This mode of commemorating Christ is not suitable to me. That is reason enough why I should abandon it.”

Emerson resigned from the church in 1832 and spent the following year traveling throughout Europe. The travels sparked his imagination and led to friendships with contemporary philosophers and writers such as John Stuart Mill, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Thomas Carlyle. It was later written that his travels to Paris sparked “a moment of almost visionary intensity that pointed him away from theology and toward science.”

Upon returning to the United States, Emerson founded the Transcendental Club, which was a group of New England intellectuals like himself who wanted to talk about philosophy, culture, science, and improving American society.

Emerson’s deep questioning of his life and values, which began with his work as a pastor, intensified during his international travels, and continued with his Transcendental Club meetings helped him realize the desire to become a philosopher and writer. He spent the rest of his years pursuing independent ideas and writing essays and books that are still valued today.

Fixing a Failure of Vision

A Failure of Vision is a WHY problem. They happen because your vision or goal for what you want to become (your why) doesn’t align with the actions you are taking.

There are three primary ways to fix Failures of Vision.

  1. Take stock of your life.
  2. Determine your non-negotiable.
  3. Navigate criticism.

Take stock of your life. People rarely take the time to think critically about their vision and values. Of course, there is no requirement that says you must to develop a personal vision for your work or your life. Many people prefer to go-with-the-flow and take life as it comes. In theory, that’s just fine. But in practice, there is a problem:

If you never decide on a vision for your life, you’ll often find yourself living someone else’s dream.

Like many children, Emerson followed the path of his father to the same school and the same profession before opening his eyes and realizing it wasn’t what he wanted. Adopting someone else’s vision as your own—whether it be from family, friends, celebrities, your boss, or society as a whole—is unlikely to lead to your personal dream. Your identity and your habits need to be aligned.

Because of this, you need to take stock of your life. What do you want to accomplish? How do you want to spend your days? It is not someone else’s job to figure out the vision for your life. That can only be done by you. My suggestion is to start by exploring your core values. Then, review your recent experiences by writing an Annual Review or doing an Integrity Report.

Determine your non-negotiable. Your “non-negotiable” is the one thing you are not willing to budge on, no matter what. One common mistake is to make the non-negotiable your strategy, when it should be your vision. It’s very easy to get fixated on your idea. But if you’re going to get obsessed with something, get obsessed with your vision, not your idea. Be firm on the vision, not on this particular version of your idea. Jeff Bezos has said, “We are stubborn on vision. We are flexible on details.”

The key is to realize that nearly everything is a detail—your tactics, your strategy, even your business model. If your non-negotiable is to be a successful entrepreneur, then there are many ways to achieve that vision. If Amazon’s non-negotiable is to “be earth’s most customer centric company,” they can lose billions on Amazon Auctions and Amazon zShops and still reach their goal.

Once you are confident in your vision, it is rare to lose it in one fell swoop. There are so few mistakes that lead to the complete annihilation of a dream. More likely, you failed at a strategy level and felt demoralized. This crippled your enthusiasm and you gave up not because you should, but because you felt like it. Your emotions caused you to turn a Stage 1 or Stage 2 failure into a Stage 3 failure. Most of the mistakes that people assume are Failures of Vision are actually Failures of Strategy. Many entrepreneurs, artists, and creators get hung up on a particular version of their idea and when the idea fails they give up on the vision as well. Don’t develop a sense of ownership over the wrong thing. There are nearly infinite ways to achieve your vision if you are willing to be flexible on the details.

Navigate criticism. Criticism can be an indicator of failed strategies and tactics, but—assuming you’re a reasonable person with good intentions—it is rarely an indicator of a failed vision. If you are committed to making your vision a non-negotiable factor in your life and not giving up on the first try, then you have to be willing to navigate criticism. You don’t need to apologize for the things you love, but you do have to learn how to deal with haters.

The 4th Stage of Failure

There is a 4th stage of failure that we haven’t talked about: Failures of Opportunity.

These are WHO mistakes. They occur when society fails to provide equal opportunity for all people. Failures of Opportunity are the result of many complex factors: age, race, gender, income, education, and more.

For example, there are thousands of men my age living in the slums of India or the streets of Bangladesh who are more intelligent and more talented than I am, but we live very different lives largely because of the opportunities presented to us.

Failures of Opportunity deserve an article of their own and there are many things we can do as individuals and as a society to reduce them. However, I chose not to focus on them here because Failures of Opportunity are difficult to influence. Meanwhile, your vision, your strategy, and your tactics are all things you can directly control.

4th Stage of Failure

A Final Note on Failure

Hopefully, the 3 Stages of Failure framework has helped you clarify some of the issues you’re facing and how to deal with them. One thing that may not be apparent at first glance is how the different stages can impact one another.

For example, Failures of Tactics can occasionally create enough havoc that you mistakenly believe you have a Failure of Vision. Imagine how Sam Carpenter felt when he was working 100 hours per week. It would have been easy to assume that his vision of being an entrepreneur was the failure when, in fact, it was merely poor tactics causing the problem.

Sometimes you need a few tactics to create enough whitespace to figure out your strategy or vision. This is why I write about things like how to manage your daily routine and how to figure out your priorities and why multitasking is a myth. No, these topics aren’t going to create a world-changing vision by themselves. But they might clear enough space in your calendar for you to dream up a world-changing vision.

In other words, you might not be walking the wrong path after all. It’s just that there is so much dust swirling around you that you can’t see the path. Figure out the right tactics and strategy—clear the dust from the air—and you’ll find that the vision often reveals itself.

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