I have failed many many times. But looking back, those have been some of the best times for growth in my life. Society has placed on us that failure is bad and that we are weak if we fail. That is nonsense, and we as a society, need to change that thinking. If you look at the greatest minds throughout modern times you will see there is a pattern, it takes many failures to get to the best solution. Failure is part of the process instead of the end of the line.
A few great quotes that express this:
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison
“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Yeah… these folks did OK.
When I sit down to start on any project, I start with rough sketches and build upon that. Would I like it to be the first one and done? Sure! But that is not realistic, and it is a part of the process that gets you to the best solution. There are thousands of ways to approach a project, but until you go through embracing fear and not fearing it, you can’t get to the best version of you or an idea.
I have projects that did not “make it.” Of course, it sucks, but looking at it and seeing how you can improve on it is the pearl in the shell. It’s the true grit that forms the pearl and what makes it shine its light and beauty to the world. So I say, enjoy the daily grind, have respect for all the waded up 2 pointers in the trash can, remember that each one was a step closer to the goal.
Looking at a project with an open mind and not attaching yourself to the outcome – as hard as that may be – lets you explore possibilities without fear. This makes the process and creative journey, the reason why you enjoy it instead of the final result. Working with fear in your heart restricts your higher thinking, and frankly, it sucks! Instead of letting fear drive, welcome fear to have a seat on the passenger side and enjoy the ride! Just like Elizabeth Gilbert says:
“There’s plenty of room in this vehicle for all of us, so make yourself at home, but understand this: Creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way. I recognize and respect that you are part of this family, and so I will never exclude you from our activities, but still—your suggestions will never be followed. You’re allowed to have a seat, and you’re allowed to have a voice, but you are not allowed to have a vote. – Elizabeth Gilbert
Remember all this when you are starting your next project and say “OK failure, we are in this together! Let’s do it!!”