If you want to increase your odds of success, one useful approach is to eliminate the biggest possibilities of failure. That is, take the downside out of play. Early in my career as a product design engineer, we worked hard to eliminate the largest possibilities of product failure in order to improve the potential reliability of new products. The same is true for achievement.
First, always have options.
Do not bet everything on only one possibility. For example, if you are looking for a job, do not focus only on a single opportunity. Pursue many in parallel. If one does not work out, you can still pursue the remaining options. If you put everything into only one opportunity then your failure point becomes very risky – it’s all or nothing.
Second, think before you start.
Sounds easy right? Make sure you seek the right advice from other high achievers to avoid the same mistakes they may have made. Then, think about your goal and work backwards. Map out potential moves and explore different paths to get there. Learn how you can adjust your path if you run into a roadblock along the way. Having only one path increases the odds of overall failure.
Finally, manage the impact of certain mistakes.
You are certain to make some mistakes along the way. So what? You are trying to avoid the big one. For example, if you ever watch a professional golfer evaluate a difficult shot, they almost always consider the implications of different misses and choose the shot that will avoid the big mistake. You can manage the impact of your own mistakes by considering the possible mistakes you might make and working to minimize the potential of a big one along the way. Take the downside out of play and you will maximize your potential upside.