ACTOR Robert de Niro once said: "The talent is in the choices." In other words, you must make the best choice available to you at a given point of time. The more choices you have, the better the chances of achieving your desired outcome.

Two is better than one

In the philosophy of Neuro-linguistics Programming (NLP), if you have only one choice, it is not considered a choice at all.

If you have two or more choices, you have an opportunity to make the best decision to influence the outcome. You can draw on the vast resources of your brain to create choices for yourself. You can also reframe your problems and see them in a different perspective.

For example, you have a choice to remain as poor as a church mouse or to become more financially stable. You have a choice to be untidy or be organised. You have a choice to do it now or later. You have a choice to be complacent or to be alert to opportunity.

The Post-It lesson

The glue used in 3M Post-It pads was originally meant for fixed surfaces like bulletin boards. A 3M chemist, Arthur Fry, tried to find other uses for the glue but could not think of any.

One evening, while he was singing in church with his choir, a light breeze blew his hymn sheets away. At first, he was irritated. Then he had a creative, brilliant insight. The 3M glue could be used to stick paper onto paper! And the Post-It pad was born.

Fry received a yearly royalty for his invention, thanks to his committed desire to find a use for one of his company products.

No failure, only feedback

Sometimes you make the wrong choice and the result is failure. Take heart, making the wrong choice is better than not making any choices at all. At least, you take the initiative to act.

Failure is not the opposite of success, but its by-product. Inaction, apathy and tolerance of mediocrity are the opposites of success.

We learn valuable lessons from failure, such as taking the hard knocks in life. The lessons are not taught in formal universities but out in the street.

In NLP, there is no such thing as "failure". Instead, failure is actually feedback that can be used to improve your performance. Failure is a necessary part of success. It is actually a step before success.

Many quit when confronted with failure, not knowing that the next step is success.

Domino theory

Tom Monaghan, the founder of the Domino's Pizza chain, was only four years old when his father died. Poverty drove his mother to place him in an orphanage. Young Tom harboured two childhood dreams - to be a priest and to play in the Detroit Tigers, an American baseball team.

However, after a year of studying to be a priest in a seminary, he left. In 1960, he started Domino's Pizza. Initially, it was very successful, but in the 1970s, he started losing control of the company because of rapid expansion. Domino's was on the brink of bankruptcy.

By 1993, Tom Monaghan had rebuilt Domino's Pizza into one of the largest pizza chains in America with a sales turnover that exceeded US$2.2 billion (S$3.15 billion).

So compelling was his dream to play in the Detroit Tigers that he purchased the entire team. He also remained Domino's president. Had he given up during his bankruptcy, he would not have enjoyed Domino's later success - and he would not have fulfilled his second childhood dream.

He chose to see his bout of failure as an opportunity to do even better. As Henry Ford once remarked: "Failure is the only opportunity to begin more intelligently."