Staying Scrappy: Embracing Failure and Achieving Success


Hatched by Glasp

Sep 08, 2023

4 min read


Staying Scrappy: Embracing Failure and Achieving Success

The concept of "scrappiness" has become increasingly popular among entrepreneurs and teams working on new projects. Vijaye Raji, a Facebook engineering partner, coined the term to describe the critical component of achieving goals, staying focused on a vision, identifying opportunities, and navigating setbacks. Being scrappy means having a strong, determined character and a willingness to fight for what you want.

When faced with roadblocks or obstacles, being scrappy allows individuals and teams to push through and make things happen, even when they seem daunting. It involves accepting that failures are a part of the process, learning from them, and growing in the process. However, it is essential to note that having a process is not always a bad thing.

In some organizations, the approval process can hinder progress by allowing anyone to say no and torpedoing ideas before they have a chance to take off. It is crucial for organizations to carefully consider who has the final say and who needs to step aside to ensure that the approval process does not become a roadblock itself.

Institutional memory can be both powerful and dangerous. While it can provide valuable insights and prevent repeating past mistakes, it can also lead to a fear of taking risks. When pitching a new idea, there may be references to previous failures, which can discourage innovation. Overcoming this anti-scrappiness mindset requires recognizing that occasional missteps are a natural part of progress and embracing failure as an opportunity to learn, adapt, and iterate.

The scrappy mindset is not limited to the tech industry; it is crucial for success in any field. Embracing failure as a natural part of the learning process allows individuals and teams to adjust quickly and learn as they go. However, remaining scrappy requires perseverance and a willingness to continuously improve.

Now, let's shift our focus to 100 tips for a better life, as shared on LessWrong. While seemingly unrelated to the concept of scrappiness, there are common points that can be connected naturally. Both emphasize the importance of taking action and not getting caught up in perfectionism.

The first tip, "Done is better than perfect," aligns with the scrappy mindset of pushing through obstacles and making things happen, even if they are not perfect. Similarly, the tip on discipline being superior to motivation resonates with the idea that being scrappy requires perseverance and a commitment to overcoming challenges.

Another common point is the emphasis on seeking advice from trusted individuals who know you well. While scrappiness involves navigating setbacks independently, it is still valuable to seek guidance from those who understand your strengths and weaknesses. This aligns with the advice to ask honest friends who love you for personalized advice.

Both the scrappy mindset and the tips for a better life highlight the importance of simplicity. Making things as easy as possible, cultivating a reputation for dependability, and focusing on daily actions that shape your life all emphasize the value of simplicity and practicality.

Additionally, the tips for a better life touch on the significance of human connection and emotional well-being. Calling your parents, expressing love to friends, and complimenting people align with the scrappy philosophy of embracing failure but also valuing relationships and personal growth. Taking care of oneself through exercise, good sleep, and spending time in nature also resonates with the scrappy mindset of adapting and adjusting to maintain personal well-being.

Incorporating unique insights, it is worth considering that being scrappy may not come naturally to everyone. Some individuals may need to push themselves to be more extroverted, even if they consider themselves introverts. This insight highlights the importance of stepping out of comfort zones and embracing new experiences to foster personal growth.

To conclude, staying scrappy and incorporating the tips for a better life can lead to a more fulfilling and successful journey. Here are three actionable pieces of advice to embrace the scrappy mindset:

  • 1. Embrace failure as a learning opportunity: Instead of viewing failures as a sign of incompetence, see them as an opportunity to grow and improve. Learn from your mistakes and use them as stepping stones towards success.
  • 2. Take action and prioritize progress over perfection: Don't get caught up in perfectionism. Focus on getting things done and making progress, even if they are not flawless. Done is better than perfect.
  • 3. Seek personalized advice from trusted individuals: While independence is essential, don't hesitate to seek guidance from those who know you well. Honest friends and mentors can offer valuable insights and help you navigate challenges more effectively.

By combining the scrappy mindset with the tips for a better life, individuals and teams can overcome obstacles, stay focused on their goals, and ultimately achieve success in their endeavors.

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