Blasting Off Again: How To Constantly Fail; A Primer From Team Rocket

Sometimes it helps to look at why other people or organisations have failed. Where they’ve taken a wrong turn or how they keep on failing. Doing so can help us notice signs of such mistakes, avoid them and reach success.

So… Prepare for trouble. Make it double. Jessie! James! Meowth!

Team Rocket Trio

That’s right!

Today we’re learning from the anti-example of success: Team Rocket!

Follow even a handful of these tips and you’re well on your way to failure!

1. Surround yourself with incompetence

The best way to ensure failure is to surround yourself with incompetence. If you hung out and worked with successful people, their attitudes and ideas might encourage and empower you.

No, no, no. Instead, to ensure failure, be certain to spend time with selfish, short-sighted, egotistical people. Learn as much as you can from them and implement it frequently.

James & Victreebel

It’s not just incompetent people, though, make sure your tools and equipment malfunction and your plans are half-baked. A recipe for failure!

Oh, and be sure to rely on unreliable people with a track record for failure.

2. Put all your Exeggcute in one basket


Commit obsessively to a single goal, say, capturing some kid’s Pikachu.

For maximum failure ignore all other goals, sub-goals and opportunities. Instead, focus on one lofty goal that has eluded you time and time again.

If you like, you could even sort of forget exactly why you’re going after this goal in the first place. Let the goal overshadow the reason for seeking it!

When pursuing said goal, be sure to have one big plan you must rely on. Don’t waste time with “backups” and “fail safes”. Go all out, blow the budget, put everything into this one plan. Because if it succeeds – which history says is unlikely – you’ll be set for life. And if it fails you’ll be far worse off than when you started.

But that’d never happen. Not this time…

For extra failure, make sure your goal is overvalued or misguided, too.

Or definitely try to capture that one kid’s specific Pikachu rather than focusing on all the other Pokemon in the world, or another similar Pikachu.

Many Pikachus

Whatever you do, don’t set smaller milestones, implement multiple paths to success or focus on more than one goal. That way surely lies success.

3. Fail to learn

Okay, so maybe you’ve only failed once or twice and you just can’t repeat it with consistency. Never fear. Your problem is learning from your failures.

Have you ever failed and asked for feedback? That’s where you went wrong!

If you want to ensure failure, never ask for feedback! And if someone happens to give it to you, be sure to ignore it, even if it makes sense.

Also, never review your processes. Don’t broaden your knowledge or seek further education. Stay in your rut where it’s nice and safe and full of fail.

If you really have to learn something, learn the wrong thing.

Rather than learning that giant robots don’t work, pretend it was the type of giant robot that was the problem. That way, you try a different type of giant robot, then another, then another.


And if you almost capture that Pikachu, or somehow do succeed, don’t worry! We’re here to help you get back on the failure track. If this happens, don’t look into what went right. Just close your eyes and hope you never get that close to success again. Alternatively, analyse the factors contributing to the success and avoid them in future.

4. Attack one big problem


Have you heard of chunking? It’s breaking your problems down into smaller ones and tackling those problems instead of one big problem. If you’re committed to failure, chunking is the enemy.

Chunking is notorious for leading to success.

If any plan to capture Pikachu had been chunked, the team would be able to see points of likely failure well ahead of time. It would have also meant that each chunk didn’t always rely on the next or previous one, which is another surefire path to success.

Luckily, the team is great at looking at a big problem and not breaking it down into smaller more manageable parts. That’s one way the team keeps failing so often.

However, if you do end up chunking things, be sure to…

5. Overcomplicate

Overcomplicate things! It’s a fantastic way to reach failure while spending as much time, effort and money as possible. Very impressive indeed.

What’s great about overcomplicating, is it comes naturally to many people. Many people overcomplicate automatically but then take steps to undo all their hard work and end up succeeding as a result. What a waste!

Have you ever thought capturing a Pikachu would be as easy as bundling it up in a rubber bag while its sleeping? Or pick-pocketing its pokeball from the trainer’s belt? Or setting a simple trap?

That’s where you’re doing it wrong again. Those ideas are too simple!

You need to overcomplicate things. You need to spend money you don’t have to create massive machines and inventions – which you don’t test, of course: see points 2 and 3 – to do these otherwise simple jobs.

Grabby Robot

Here’s an everyday example of how to chunk but still fail:

  • Build an unnecessarily big robot with grabbing arms and an obvious weak point. If your foes don’t notice the weak spot, point it out.
  • Use one of your team to control it while the others make your plans clear to the Pikachu’s trainer and allies. Make sure you don’t nullify the powers of any of his other Pokemon.
  • Fight until the robot is damaged, then bundle the Pikachu into the robot. You don’t need the compartment to be very secure, that could keep it from escaping.
  • Flee slowly and loudly, allowing the robot to be hit again so the controls to go haywire. Also, don’t bother with backup systems, remember?
  • If you somehow make it away, the Pikachu will probably zap you when you’re taking it out of the robot anyway, as you ran out of budget and can’t afford insulating gloves.

You’ve committed the sin of chunking, but you’ve overcomplicated each point so much that failure is still extremely likely. Fingers crossed.

If you’re working with others, make sure that when you’re developing your overcomplicated plan, you argue with colleagues about the worst way to do things, then include everyone’s ideas to create some crazy complicated scheme with as many unnecessary parts as possible.

Failure is all but guaranteed at some point in your plan thanks to the power of overcomplication!

6. Fail to recognise success

Now, to wrap it all up with one final point: Ignore success.

Turn it away. Don’t even look at it or try to understand it.

Meowth Reading

Sometimes, unfortunately, success finds you!

Sometimes you’ll successfully capture several relatively powerful Pokemon. Or capture the Pikachu for ten or so seconds. Or you’ll have the world’s only talking Meowth. Don’t count those as successes! Ignore them!

Only focus on the times you failed. Dwell on those! Tell yourself that you are not good enough and those successes were flukes, or weren’t even successes at all, really, when you think about it from a certain perspective.

You need to be dedicated to fail so consistently and so spectacularly.

But we believe in you! Follow these tips and failure is only all but guaranteed!

Good luck!

Open Chat

What are your tips for failure? Were there any times where failure seemed certain but you somehow snapped victory for the jaws of defeat? Share in the comments below… you know, so we can make sure we avoid the success that has befallen you.


When Jarrod's not writing about personal development through pop-culture, he's helping people like you reach their goals through fun, empowering coaching.

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