“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.”
— Joseph Chilton Pearce
If we are living a creative life, we will fail. We will make mistakes, a lot of them. We will stumble around not sure if it is right or wrong or feeling uncertain of our direction. But that’s okay. Creativity is about exploring all our options. Creativity calls to us to try new things and experiment with new directions. I’m calling on you to face your fear of failure and to let it go.
When we fail in a positive environment, we learn the art of resilience. Resilient people don’t let failures keep them from the work they want to do. They may step back and dust themselves off before they begin again but they keep going.It is imperative as creative people that we actively engage in practicing failure. Empower your failure. Learn from your failure. Allow for setbacks to be considered great and the lack of failure to be considered mediocrity.
Pixar co-founder, Edwin Catmull, says that failure is the ”inevitable consequence of doing something new.” Every time we attempt to create something new, we risk falling flat on our face. However to not to risk failure, and to not take a chance of a future success because of we are “playing it safe” means that we are not creating at our best.
This type of creating is called iterative process. It is the act of doing something over and over until we achieve the final product we want. How does this apply to art? The painter who practices every day will be much better than the painter who practices once a month. The painter who practices every day will use more canvases, make more mistakes, and throw away more failures but in the end, will create something more sophisticated than the painter who only painted one time. As creative artists, we are not above this practice of doing something over and over again. The jewelry maker was not perfect the first time they made the first necklace but after time has refined their skills to make better quality jewelry. The writer practices by showing up to the computer or the page every day and writes. They do not have to write the same thing or make the same jewelry but it is the practice of doing it that is the process.
When I first began making pendants for every 10 that I made correctly, there were at least four that I threw away. When I first began making cards for every 20 I made right, there were five or six that the didn’t come together the way they were supposed to. If I had let those mistakes stop me, then I would not still be making cards and pendants today. Each time I visit the store where my cards are sold, I feel a little bit of fear that maybe what I am making isn’t good enough. I have discovered that though a particular set of affirmations are a success, as well as my notecards and bookmarks, as it turns out some of my other affirmation cards are not a fit for the store and I have yet to find a place to make them marketable. So they were a failure to make money. However, I have found them to be great gifts to give to people who need a pick me up.
What have you failed at lately?
What have you dared to try and fell on your face and then got back up to try again?
I challenge you to find that one thing that makes you want to face your fear of failure. I challenge you to try the one thing that you are willing to try again and again until it becomes a success. All of us have one thing that we want to do that allows us to face our fear of failure and come out more resilient on the other side.