Surviving AI requires changing our relationship with the “F-word”

In day 3 of this 5-day email series on How to Master Your Mindset & Unleash the Warrior Within, I’d like to share the key mindset shift that has allowed me to excel far beyond my perceived limits in any field whether it be writing, podcasting, coaching, or even as an American Ninja Warrior & Spartan Racer.

👉 If today’s email inspires you, come join my Spartan training team!

Just yesterday I recorded a mind-bending podcast conversation (that will release VERY soon) with the Vice Dean at Wharton School For Business (rated top 3 in the nation amongst all business schools) who is an expert in all things economic and technological. So in short, he’s one of the top experts in the world equipped to answer the following:

How is artificial intelligence going to change our economy and our careers?

When he answered with the following, my jaw practically dropped.

“Less than 5% of specialized careers will survive artificial intelligence. We will all become generalists.” – Mauro Guillen

I’ve been saying this for a while already, but many just assumed this was one man’s humble opinion (I mean who the heck am I to have any idea what the future holds?! I’m just a simple caveman. Your world frightens and confuses me).

But what was once just my personal hunch has now been confirmed by one of the most brilliant minds at the epicenter of understanding the future of our economy and how it intersects with technology.

No amount of hunkering down changes the fact we’re about to ride the craziest technological wave we’ve seen in modern civilization. And in order to weather this storm, we have no choice but to change our relationship with the “F-word.”

Uuuuuumm no…not that F-word.

It’s Time to Change Our Relationship with FAILURE

Just this week I released an amazing podcast conversation with Eduardo Briceño discussing what he calls The Performance Paradox. As one of the world’s experts on understanding the power of mindset, Eduardo has discovered an interesting paradox when it comes to peak performance (including creativity):

The performance paradox is the counterintuitive phenomenon that if we want to improve our performance, we have to do something other than just perform. Working harder, and trying to minimize mistakes only keeps us stuck at our current levels of understanding, skills and capabilities.

In this conversation we discuss two very specific mindsets:

  • Learning Mode
  • Performance Mode

“Learning Mode” is what we would consider our years in school, college, university etc. This also includes the first few years in the workforce where most assume we’re still learning and growing.

However, we cross a threshold roughly around our mid to late 20’s where the expectation is we’ll be in “Performance Mode” for the next 40+ years of our careers until retirement.

One of my pet peeves I often see in social media discourse are seasoned veterans talking down to the younger generations with comments like:

“I’ve been doing this for 30 years!”


Just because I’ve had a driver’s license since I was 16 doesn’t make me ready for Nascar. After a certain point I stopped learning how to drive and just repeated the same habits and behaviors, never really getting better at driving, per se. I just kept doing it. Practice doesn’t make perfect, it simply makes permanent.

The same can be said for our creative careers and the skills we develop along the way. Once we are in “performance mode” we just show up and repeat the same actions to achieve the same results. We meet impossible expectations. And then today’s miracle become’s tomorrow’s expectation.

Rinse. Lather. Repeat for 30-50 years. Experience depression, anxiety, burnout on an endless loop. Then you get your gold watch, retire, and slowly wither away.

Learning and getting better at our craft don’t happen on autopilot. We must put in the effort. And whether we like it or not, we’ve reached an inflection point in ALL creative fields whereby if we want to survive, we will have to adapt at some level to artificial intelligence. As I’ve stated numerous times, I don’t believe creatives will be replace by AI. But creatives will be replaced by other creatives using AI.

Which brings me back to our relationship with the F-word: FAILURE.

Once we reach a point in our careers where we’re cruising in “performance mode,” failure is highly looked down upon. It’s something to avoid at all costs. We do everything we can to hide our imposter syndrome and pretend to know what the hell we’re doing. But who are we kidding? At some level we are all winging it (yup…even me).

Whether we like it or not, for the next several years every single one of is will have to re-embrace “learning mode” and accept that failure is going to be a part of our lives.

Don’t Avoid Failure…Embrace It

What I’ve discovered over the last eight years navigating a complicated career pivot switching from specialization to generalization is that I simply didn’t know how to deal with failure.

I didn’t realize failure was a skill I had to learn.

Failure was a skill I had to embrace.

Failure had to become my new best friend.

And the last eight years I’ve all but mastered how to not only fail but also fail forwards and gather knowledge along the way.

I’ve essentially changed failure into an entirely different F-word: FEEDBACK.

When your mindset is that failure = feedback, it feels like there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.

Often times when I’m interviewed in the media or for other people’s podcasts, I’m asked some derivation of “What’s your secret to success in so many different areas?”

There is nothing inherently unique or special about me.

The reason I succeed is because I’m willing to fail faster and more often than everyone else.

And the playing field where I learned how to reframe my relationship with failure was the Spartan Race.

The world has not prepared us to fail properly and use it to our advantage. That’s why this week only I’m opening enrollment in my Spartan training program so you can change your relationship with failure in a supportive & safe environment.

I created this program so that you can learn all kinds of new skills you’ll never learn at the gym, get stronger, lose some weight, have more creative energy, and meet some new friends along the way. (This is a GREAT networking opportunity!)

But most importantly I created this program to change your relationship with failure.

I created this program to help you realize that you are capable of more than you give yourself credit for.

I created this program to help you unlock your true creative potential.

Ready to discover who you really are?
👉 Unlock Your Inner Spartan
(FYI: Enrollment only opens once a year)

Keep an eye on your inbox because tomorrow in day 4 of this series I’m going to share with you the #1 superpower that will take your creative career – and your life – to a completely different level. And I promise it’s not what you think it is…

Zack Arnold (ACE) is an award-winning Hollywood film editor & producer (Cobra Kai, Empire, Burn Notice, Unsolved, Glee), a documentary director, father of 2, an American Ninja Warrior, and the creator of Optimize Yourself. He believes we all deserve to love what we do for a living...but not at the expense of our health, our relationships, or our sanity. He provides the education, motivation, and inspiration to help ambitious creative professionals DO better and BE better. “Doing” better means learning how to more effectively manage your time and creative energy so you can produce higher quality work in less time. “Being” better means doing all of the above while still prioritizing the most important people and passions in your life…all without burning out in the process. Click to download Zack’s “Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Creativity (And Avoiding Burnout).”