Note: In this article, let’s understand the term ‘failure’ and ‘failing’ not in a negative way. It just describes the case that something is not going according to plan AND not in your favor either.

Six_sigmaHere is another important tool for your toolbelt in life. It’s called Six Sigma. I intentionally did not link to wikipedia here because it’s an economic term and we want to apply it to our life. So here is what you need to know:

Six Sigma generally is a set of techniques and tools for process improvement. It’s also categorized in Sigma levels, which describe the ‘Defects per million opportunities’ (DPMO). Applied to me and you, let’s say it describes how many failures occur per million opportunities. There are seven levels:

Sigma level DPMO Percent defective Percentage yield
1 691,462 69% 31%
2 308,538 31% 69%
3 66,807 6.7% 93.3%
4 6,210 0.62% 99.38%
5 233 0.023% 99.977%
6 3.4 0.00034% 99.99966%
7 0.019 0.0000019% 99.9999981%

Six Sigma is the level that’s of interest for us. It would mean that out of a million opportunities, we fail 3.4 times.

Now you are asking if that’s even possible. And I can’t answer this question because we can’t really define ‘opportunities’ either. But here’s the reason why I found this concept so helpful:

Keep Six Sigma in mind whenever you do something. Six Sigma is your goal. 3.4 failures out of a million opportunities. If this is your goal, you’ll plan everything more carefully. Imagine you are playing the boss level in a game and you only have one life left.

You will be super-cautious with your actions.

Probably you have another objection now: ‘Yorick, in the other articles you often write about seeing mistakes and failures as an opportunity to learn and grow. Something that’s actually not bad to make’.

Good question, champ! And what you’re asking is actually complementing the concept of Six Sigma. Frankly, 0.00034% failure rate is really hard to reach. If you are like me, you will still fail enough times on your way. The reason why I propose to really implement Six Sigma in your life is that you sadly don’t have the time AND resources to fail too often. Although failing is not bad, succeeding is much cooler, right?


  • Your goal is Six Sigma, 3.4 failures out of a million opportunities.
  • When you fail, take it as an opportunity to learn from it, making sure it does not happen again.

As you know, I’m really curious about you. What do you think about Six Sigma? Helpful or Not?

Yorick Tran
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Yorick Tran

Founder at Life Institute
Hi, I am the founder of the Life Institute. I hope you get some valuable learnings here. If you have any questions, please contact me on my facebook account or via our intern community messaging!
Yorick Tran
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