“I don’t believe in failure. There’s either success or learning.” ~Jen Rozenbaum, Jenerations
I recently took an amazing photography class from Jen at creativeLIVE. (And if you’ve never heard of creativeLIVE, you should absolutely check it out; free online learning). She spent time talking about being an artist and how if you want to succeed and want your creativity to flourish, you have to let yourself take risks and either succeed (yay) or make mistakes (that you learn from). I think it kind of goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: you can’t ever get to the finish line unless you keep going.
Here are some famous successes who also made mistakes (& learned from them):
- The company Rovio made 51 attempts at a successful app before they came up with Angry Birds (which has now been downloaded 1 billion times).
- Steve Jobs got fired from Apple, the company he started. He once said: “Getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.” When he came back to Apple, he went on to make it one of the most successful companies in the world.
- Oprah Winfrey (billionaire, television network owner, among many other things) was fired early on in her career from her job as a reporter because she was, according to her producer, “unfit for television news.”
Why am I telling you (& myself) all this?
Because I don’t want you (or me) to give up after three or thirty or three hundred tries. I want you to reframe your experiences (anything you’re now calling failures) so you can learn from them and move on. Lamenting your mistakes and failures just keeps you stuck in the same place wishing for what could’ve been (I know, I’ve done it).
If it’s a learning experience, well then it’s not personal, it doesn’t reflect badly on you, and that opens you up to doing a better job the next time. And it really is true (I can attest to it!) that you learn more from your mistakes than you do from your successes. As an artist and a person, I’d rather keep growing which means I have to keep moving forward and upward.
My new mantra
I’m gonna make a choice right now to not believe in failure either: only success or learning, success or learning. I hope you’ll adopt that mantra too.
So do you believe in failure? Please feel free to share your thoughts & experiences in the comment box below.