Millican’s Law – you’re not as bad (or good) as you think

Recently, I was helping a client think about the pros and cons of failure. I invited them to imagine a world without failure: it would be a dull, predictable, unchanging place. Failure rocks!

But some people still view ‘failure’ as something to avoid, not promote. This is silly, because being open to try (and potentially fail) is essential for personal growth and development. It’s also a vital part of having a Future Ready Mindset.

Sarah MillicanThe British comedian Sarah Millican knows failure as well as anyone and has a wonderful way of dealing with it. Now a hugely successful TV personality, Sarah developed her comedic muscle by working the circuit, gigging in pubs and clubs across the UK. She had her fair share of knocks and bumps on the road, just as everyone does, and once shared how she copes with the emotional rollercoaster.

Millican’s Law (AKA the 11 o’clock rule) states, and I quote directly from Sarah’s blog:

This is Millican’s Law. If you have a hard gig, quiet, a death, a struggle, whatever, you can only be mad and frustrated and gutted until 11am the next day. Then you must draw a line under it and forget about it. As going into the next gig thinking you are sh*t will mean you will die.

Equally, if you nail it, slam it, destroy it, whatever, you can only be smug about it until 11am the next day (in the past, I have set an alarm so I could get up and gloat for an extra half hour) as if you go into the next gig thinking you are God’s gift to comedy, you will die. That is Millican’s Law and it totally works. It means you move on quickly.
I love how Sarah highlights that success and failure are equally unimportant on life’s journey. Both are fleeting and best forgotten. That’s a very healthy approach to business: when things go well, we should celebrate briefly, then move on. When things go badly, we should commiserate and learn briefly, then move on. We shouldn’t dwell on either outcome; just move on. Keep going.
Here’s to injecting more failure and success into your life. Go for it!