If you can't recall a failure that you've had in the last month, then you're not trying hard enough at life. It's as simple as that. People who don't fail are people who stay in the safety zone. The just good enough zone. And there's nothing wrong with that - if good enough is good enough for you, then who am I to tell you otherwise? But, for those of us after a little more, we need to fail harder. Great things are only achieved if we leap for the stars, and even if we fail, chances are we'll still be better off than if we never tried at all.
But, trying is uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable. There is a culture that rewards those who 'don't care' and just remain at the status quo. The average people all pat each other on the back. And they tear the high achievers down, for doing what they couldn't. We each stand inside a little circle of comfort, and stepping out of it can be down right terrifying. Trying something new is the stuff of nightmares. But what if I FAIL!? Our brain says. Failure is the ultimate fear. It paralyses us. So much so, that we'd rather not try, than risk failing. How messed up is that? If you don't try, you can't fail. Many many people live their entire lives without trying, or failing. Or succeeding.
You, on the other hand, want to try. You want to try really hard. And like me, you're terrified. Because heck, we've been brainwashed to believe that failure is the worst imaginable outcome. I remember once I was invited to submit a painting into a group exhibition. It was my dream come true, and you know what? I SAID NO. What the actual fuck. Why? I was terrified that I wouldn't excel. That my painting would be laughed at. I'd be mocked. I'd fail. And I regretted that decision instantly. A few months later, thankfully another opportunity came knocking. Scared shitless, I jumped on board. This was happening, otherwise what's the point of anything? I painted up a piece as best I could, and it went in the show. It didn't sell, but nobody pointed and laughed at it. Or threw it on the floor in disgust. I kinda failed, but also didn't. I realised that success didn't lie in having the best piece in the show, or even selling it. The success was simply giving it a go in the first place.
In the grand scheme of things, the fails teach you a lot more than the successes. And each fail brings you closer to a success. I've had my fair share of little fails along the way, but they never hurt as bad as the times I didn't try. That's what eats you away inside. The fails sting pretty hard at first, but they dissolve away and all that's left is the lesson you learnt. You don't learn anything if you don't try at all. Except, maybe, the lesson being that you should try next time!
Recently, I felt like I had a pretty big fail. Which is so whack - because now that I have a bit of distance from it, I realise what a success it was. It's all how you look at it. I curated this big group exhibition all by myself. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it turned out to be a lot of work. Let's just say I got so burnt out that I've spent the last three weeks recovering. Anyway, there were a lot of things I wasn't happy about with the exhibition. The venue wasn't ideal, I'd put a lot of time and energy into it and I didn't get the attendance I'd hoped for. Not to mention, none of the artworks sold. I felt like I'd let the artists down, and let myself down. Even with my usual positive mindset and what not, I had a huge feeling of disappointment and failure in me. Yucky. I failed hard.
Now, weeks later, I realise how great that failure was. It was epic! I bit off more than I could chew, took on a huge task alone, and the outcome was less than ideal. But you know what? I put together an amazing show. The artworks were of a quality that I haven't seen in any other group show, the opening night was packed out, and I got to meet so many amazing lovely people. Sounds like a win to me! Not to mention, because of the epic failness - I learnt SO MUCH. There are just so many things I know I would do differently, better, next time. Which is priceless. These morsels of wisdom only come through action. You can't get this shit by sitting at home and thinking about doing something. You've just gotta do it.
So, I've learnt now to fail hard. Even if it hurts. And it will. But the sooner you fail and the harder you fail, the better. Because the richest kind of success was well earned through a billion mistakes.