Fail Creatively

I think we all hate to fail. It sucks, it really does, putting a ton of sweat equity into a project and then it turns out to be a fail. The photos didn’t appease a client, screwing up the budget, the client we wanted decided to go with our competitor, no publisher’s interested in a manuscript we put our soul into, no one wants to see the movie we produced, someone spits out the food we made, not a single song download we created, boss hates the presentation, and nobody wants to buy our art.

It sucks to fail!Adam Fricke filming at Russell Cave National Monument

But failing is a necessary part of life. As we were leaving Nashville, my brother and I had a long conversation about what it means to fail. We both hate failure, I’m sure you do too, but it’s necessary and I think it’s even fun if done right.

How boring life would be if we were perfect, am I right? It’s kind of like a story plot. You start at Point A where nothing’s going on. Something catches your attention, you see something you want or decide you want to do something. Then you go on this journey, but along the way you face some challenges. Two things happen at this point: you’ve experienced this challenge before and know how to overcome it or this is brand new to you and you take your best shot at overcoming the challenge. Now if you’ve experienced this before, you hopefully know the solution right away and know how to get past it, but if it’s your first encounter, chances are you’re going to fail. You don’t know any better and end up in the deep end.

That’s not where the story ends.

You problem solve and figure out a way to get past this hurdle. That’s the climax of this story of your life. You figure it out and it’s all downhill from there. You come out with more knowledge and are, later on, able to help others get through the same challenge you faced.

Climbers, and other outdoorsy people for that matter, are some of the best failures I know. They’ll devote their lives to memorizing a sequence to a route so they can get past one part, the crux, in one push. They’ll fail hundred of times, falling on the same move, before finally sticking the move and being able to send the problem.

Why do they drive themselves nuts trying to conquer that one move? The outcome is the greatest reward out there. Knowing that they tried so hard for so long, gave it their all, and then actually bagging the send is one of the best feelings in the world and that’s what makes failing worth the pain.

When we choose to not put ourselves out there or give up, we rob ourselves of happiness. We can come up with a great idea, create a beautiful piece of art, or try something new, but it’s not worth it if we give up when the going gets tough. Not putting our work out there because we’re afraid of what haters will say, giving up because we think it’s too hard, or just not starting because we’re afraid to fail is when we lose the spark in our life. I solely believe that in order to be happy we have to fail because overcoming failure is one of the greatest forms of payment.

Now get out there and fail happy.

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