“What is required in our field, more than anything else, is the continuous transgression. Professionalism does not allow for that because transgression has to encompass the possibility of failure and if you are professional your instinct is not to fail, it is to repeat success.”
– Milton Glaser
Why does there always have to be success? Why does everything have to be perfect and flawless?
Why does there have to be this fear of failure, of falling? Why do we classify failure as ‘unsuccessful’? Why is failure thought of as a bad thing?
I have learned more from my failures than I ever did through my successes. I learned what not to do and why. I learned better ways to plan and execute.
It can be summed up simply with the words, “I learned”.
I found value in my actions, my concerns, my priorities. I learned what those things were through my stumbling, fumbling, and tripping. I learned that some things aren’t as important as other things. I learned what I’m not going to compromise on and how to be true to myself.
I learned to experiment. I learned to be open-minded. I learned to be forgiving and understanding that we’re all human and we ALL make mistakes.
Success didn’t teach me that.
Success didn’t teach me compassion. It didn’t teach me anything at all.
Failure taught me to try. Failure taught me about effort and determination. Failure taught me to challenge myself. Failure taught me that the only way I fail is if I give up. That persistence and stubbornness are really the same thing.
No matter what, people are going to judge you. People will discredit your success just as much as they’ll sneer and comment about your fall.
Surround yourself with the right people, and no matter if you fail or succeed you will have support and people trying to lift you up and push you further. You’ll be around people who genuinely care and want to see you do your best, regardless of the outcome.
Success does not change who you are. It has no baring on your character or personality. So it should have no baring on someone’s opinion of you.
If they are only around you because you are ‘successful’ then they are not there for the right reasons.
No one should be made to feel bad for failing.
At least that person, that ‘failure’, tried doing something. At least they put time and effort into something to even have the option of failing.
So often people sit and let life pass them by, doing nothing. Being afraid to take action, to reach for a goal, a dream. So often people are scared of this concept of ‘failure’ and being looked down on, when really they should be admired.
Even when we are at our lowest, have fallen further than we ever have before, to the point where it looks like we’ll never be able to recover, we are worthy of being admired for our courage and strength.
We risked. We went outside our comfort zone and stretched ourselves for something we felt was worth it at the time.
Maybe we learned a really important lesson from our ‘failure’. A lesson which will guide us for the rest of our life. Maybe we found the value of something we took for granted before.
Whatever it may be, whatever it was we were unsuccessful with, the way we view that event is purely within ourselves, and not in the minds of others.
It’s only failure if you say it is.
I personally like to think I have never failed.
I have messed up. I have made some not smart choices (read “some really, really not smart choices”). I have things I would do differently now that I have hindsight and experience.
I have things that I have learned.
I have never failed, nor will I, because the only way you fail is if you give up. You only fail once you throw in the towel and admit defeat and that you gained nothing. No knowledge, no experience, no insight, no perspective.
The only failure is to do something, and to learn nothing from it.
So screw society and this concept of ‘failure’.
Go out and dance. Sing. Do something crazy. Something you have convinced yourself you’re scared to do because you might ‘fail’ at it.
There is no such thing as failure. It’s all a learning experience. So go out and learn. Live. Love. Stop being scared of what other people might think about your actions.
Do what makes you happy even if it might not turn out the way you want.