This is a guest post by the lovely Michelle of Wicked Whimsy , who writes about creating the life you want and deserve. She just launched Take Back Your Creativity, e-book designed to help you integrate your creative life and your daily life, overcome more of your creative blocks, and increase your creative output.
I recently read The Happiness Project by . In case you're unfamiliar with the book, the idea is that the author decided that she wanted to dedicate a year of her life to actively becoming more happy and then set out to do so. The book is a chronicle of that year. It's worth reading as a whole, but the most useful & applicable idea I got out of it was this: the fun of failure.
Gretchen writes about how many of her resolutions required her to push herself and she realized that one of the reasons she was so reluctant to do so was her paralyzing fear of failure. However, having more success requires accepting more failure, and so to counteract the fear, she told herself that she enjoyed the fun of failure.
When I read those pages in the book, I literally had to stop reading to sit with this idea. That thought would have never in a million years occurred to me!
Because I hate failing. Hate with all-capital letters. I know that most people don't exactly enjoy it, but the very thought of past failures is enough to make me blush and feel embarrassed (as well as slightly nauseated). This is a problem since, as mentioned above, you can't succeed without trying new things, and that necessitates the occasional failure.
After reading Gretchen's thoughts on failure, I decided to make a few changes in that area of my own life:
- Rethink how I feel about failure. I'm not sure if I can convince myself that it's fun (although it can't hurt to try!) but failures are always learning experiences, and I do love learning. So that's what I'll keep in mind when I fail - it's just another chance to learn.
- Let myself fail. Learn to quit when it's necessary, before wasting lots of time and effort on something that's not going well & isn't meant to be - just because I refuse to fail. When I do that, it usually doesn't work out anyways, so I might as well fail early and move on to something else.
- Learn to joke about past failures. Embarrassing secret: I failed my driving test twice before I finally passed it. (I get really nervous with people looking over my shoulder, okay?!) If I can joke about past failures, that helps disassociate the word "failure" from something really negative for me, which means I can learn to roll with future failures.
This year, I'm going to let myself be someone who can learn from failure without feeling horridly ashamed and embarrassed about failing. I'm going to let myself try new things and not care if they turn out 100% or not, and instead take joy in the fact that I stretched myself and tried something. (And learned from it!)
How do you react to failure?