How to Stop Failing (or How to Live a Dream)

How to Stop Failing (or How to Live a Dream)

Written by Scott Dinsmore –  Follow me on Twitter.


“Life’s real failure is when you do not realize how close you were to success when you gave up.”


If you don’t feel like reading much today I’ll give you the easy three word answer.

If you want to stop failing and more importantly, start living dreams then…

Don’t Give Up.

That’s it. Your life will change forever if you take those three words to heart. If you need more convincing then stick around for a story about persistence that will blow your mind.

Yesterday I eagerly headed to a meeting. I knew I was about to get the most tranquil feeling of calm at my next destination. I was excited.

Last week a good friend of mine, Leo, had introduced me to Samovar Tea Lounge in San Francisco. After our three-hour session (which felt like 20 minutes) he said I had to meet the founder, Jesse Jacobs. Something about us both being into extreme fitness challenges. I don’t know…

Slowing to recognize what matters

So a week later I settled onto a pillow at Samovar’s flagship location in Buena Vista Garden, downtown San Francisco. Jesse’s energy hit me like an ocean breeze. Before I could get a few words in, he asked the waitress for some things in a language I’d never heard. He had ordered three teas from as many countries.

For the next couple hours I saw a man who was in ‘the zone’ – in the pure sense of the word. He told me stories of Tibetan men handpicking leaves of white tea that were just the right length (because this brew wouldn’t be right any other way). Most of this tea was one of a kind he proudly explained. “Once I tasted this one and I asked the Tibetan how much they had to sell. When his response was 50lbs I took the whole lot. Who knows if there will ever be another batch.”

The more time around those who do what they love, the better.

There is something massively refreshing about spending time around people who have squarely found their place in the world. As we sipped, Jesse explained his story. Occasionally happily interrupted by the countless people he knew. It turns out this is the hot spot for online millionaires and best selling authors to come and simply be – just like everyone else around. Tim Ferriss, Leo Babauta and Kevin Rose to name a few regulars.

My favorite dish there, The Paleolithic Tea Service (with tofu), was actually inspired by Tim.

Living your dream requires you to work your ass off.

Ten years ago Jesse was about ready to pull the ripcord on a long career in tech. It wasn’t him and he needed something different. He wanted to create a movement. Something to help slow people down and enjoy the presence of life. He realized coffee is all about doing things fast. Whereas tea is about the opposite. His would be a venture focused on business and personal connection and slowing down to enjoy them both. Perfect.

Persistence Required

With idea in hand, Jesse went to a bank for a small business loan. The only problem was they said no. So he went to the next one. They said no too. He tried another. No luck. He did the same for 68 more banks. They all said no. It wasn’t until number 72 did he get a yes (over a cup of tea of course).

Did you hear that? I said SEVENTY-TWO banks.

How many no’s have you gotten?

Think about your dreams for a minute. Which ones have you given up in the past few years? Why? How many times were you rejected? For many the answer is one or two. Maybe three or four. What about the other 69?

As it turns out, the average sale doesn’t get made until a salesman has attempted seven times. Take a minute to let that sink in. It took Tim Ferriss being rejected by 26 publishers before his manuscript for The 4-Hour Work Week was accepted. In his teens Tony Robbins was rejected by 12 banks before one gave him a $1,200 personal loan for him to take his first course from Jim Rohn. The rumor is Colonel Harland Sanders was rejected 1,000 times before KFC saw the light of day.

Dreams don’t come true because people get lucky.

People get lucky because they don’t give up. That takes a rare breed. The breed that will settle for nothing less than magnificent. It’s not about how many times you fall. Because fall you will. It’s about how many times you get up.

Where would the world be without persistence?

There would be no Lifestyle Design or 4-Hour Workweek movement. There would be 40 million fewer people who’s lives had been changed worldwide thanks to Tony Robbins.  There would be no KFC…wait I guess that would be a good thing. And of course there would be no Samovar. There would be no iPhone, no iPad, no twitter, no Facebook. You get the idea?

If you’re realizing you’ve given up too early, Reclaim Your Dreams is a pretty good place to start.

What makes persistence possible?

1. Start with why: Many people approach life thinking about what they will build or how they will do it. They miss the essence, which comes much earlier. Understand why you want to create something. This is the hardest step because it involves knowing yourself on a level few people do. It involves digging to your core and understanding your values. It means utter congruency.

Once you have a grasp on this, you can take your pick of the industry or product you apply it to. Passion doesn’t come from an idea or product. It comes from that idea fulfilling your needs and strengths as a human. Get that right and you’ll be so damn fired up, you might never sleep again.

Start with Why is a book by Simon Sinek and it’s what gave Jesse his foundation. Along with Peak, which revolutionized the idea that anyone can love what they do if they understand and tend to their core. By the way, if anyone is looking to meet the author, you might want to ask Jesse, turns about he’s a regular tea patron.

2. Look Fear in the eye and welcome it: Fear of failure is what keeps us from so many amazing things. Well guess what? Your’re going to fail. So get over it and start building.

3. Surround yourself with people who know you can do anything. There are haters everywhere. There’s no time for them. Create the right environment. This is how you do the impossible.

Persistence Rules the World.

It makes the world what it is. Seriously, look around you. None of this would be here.

Jesse Jacobs

Jesse - 72 No's later

Whatever you do, just keep going.

Last year I asked my biggest mentors for my blog and investment fund what their biggest suggestion was to ensure my success over the coming years. They each, totally separately, responded with the same thing. They answered not with what I should do, but with my biggest risk factor regarding failure. Ready for it?


The biggest risk of me not living my professional and personal dreams came down to that one word. They didn’t talk about competition or differentiation, or feature sets or listening to the customer. While all that is important, none of it makes a freaking difference if you decide to give up. Stay the course and the majority of your competition will take care of the rest. Not quitting is the single most consistent attribute to success.

If you believe in your path, then walk it. Simple as that. All the rest is a distraction.

As I got up to leave that day, I noticed this written on the menu:


…slow down and sip some tea. Let this delicious cup of tea take you away from everything, filling you with calm and vitality. Let this infusion connect you to the farmer who hand picked the leaves, the Samovarian who brewed the pot, and to your breath in this moment. Listen to your heartbeat and look around. Who do you care about? Who cares about you? What else matters? Not much actually. Can you slow down enough to see your life and touch the world and those people you love?

Our Mission…

…is to create peace through drinking tea. Here at Samovar Tea Lounge, it’s never simply business as usual. In other words, business isn’t just a profit-making mechanism, but rather a vehicle for the greater good. Making people feel good, feel healthy and attain happiness is our bottom line. And, challenging as it is, it’s equally rewarding and fulfilling to see our guests beam with joy and express their heartfelt gratitude. What we do is an expression of our values, the high ideals and essence of the tea experience, and we thank you for joining us.

Jesse’s walked his path and I’m thankful he did. The world is better as a result.

He’s living an Epic Life by every sense of the word. I have no idea what their revenue is or how much money he makes. It doesn’t matter. Success is living a congruent life. Leaving your mark on the world in a way that makes it a bit better.

So how many no’s will you be ok with going forward?

Can I make a suggestion – As many as it takes.

Start counting and start building.

Inspire us with your story of persistence (or planned persistence) in the comments below. What’s your dream? We can never get enough!

And if you’re curious, here’s an intro video to the Samovar Tea Movement.

Odds and Ends:

1. Goals Update: Last week I completed a month of the Slow Carb Diet. I lost 5.1 lbs (down to 179), 6.5 total inches and ended at 10.3% body fat (wasn’t able to measure starting body fat). Interesting experience and it’s nice to be back to eating normally – eating food, not too much, mostly plants. Still deciding if I have the courage to share before and after pics… How are your 2011 goals coming? Give us an update.

2. Next Adventure: I’m leaving today for Chile and Argentina to do a little fly fishing with my dad. I’ll be back a little later this month so I apologize in advanced for delayed comment replies, etc. Plenty of stories to come.