Hello fellow artist! Welcome to the series. I appreciate you joining me in today’s lesson. I want to talk about failure, because it’s a word that strikes so much fear into people and worse than that, it paralyzes them. The fear of failure prevents artists from creation. The fear of failure comes in many forms – sometimes it’s even disguised as procrastination.
Make no mistake, our aversion to failure can have dire consequences.
But then, why are we so afraid? Judgment? Self-pity? I’m sure you can name a myriad of answers.
Sadly, there are people, including myself, who know that failure is the key to success and yet we avoid it like the plague.
Here are a few insights I’ve learned regarding failure:
- The most successful startups employ the fast fail – they release a minimal viable product and the market dictates the changes and improvements necessary. They live by this.
- Secondly, there was a study done by a university professor on geniuses where he looked at the course of human history. What was found was that it wasn’t a matter of intelligence. As Tony Robbins says, “Knowledge is not power…it’s potential power. Execution will trump knowledge any day.” And that was what was discovered. The difference between so-called geniuses and non-geniuses was the volume of work. Mozart wrote so much music and the ones that stuck have been glorified across generations. But nobody talks about the not so good works of Mozart.
- Thirdly, we all think we are failures as artists and, here’s the kicker, if we didn’t then it would actually mean we were. The fact that we have an inherent struggle propels us to learn, grow and eventually succeed.
Each of those should be very reassuring, you’d think. And yet, I know for me, they are not. In a way, it brings even more anxiety because it highlights this notion that I should be able to overcome any fears I may have and the fact that I’m not makes me a failure.
So how do you rid yourself of this idea that you’re a failure? You don’t. You work in spite of it. See, that’s the fourth insight – the most successful people in the world are not successful because they possess something you or I don’t, they are successful because they continue on.
Discipline and effort are the only true measure to overcome this fear of failure. Keep failing. Each failure will bring you new tricks, methods, tactics – you name it.
I look back at my life, and it’s true. Whatever amount of success I’m managed to gain is because I’ve failed way more often, which is something that AfterBuzz TV creator Keven Undergaro taught me.
I have made so many crappy short films. Heck, I’ve even made feature films in my teenage years. Unwatchable to anyone except me and the few friends that were in it for nostalgic reasons.
When we were building AfterBuzz TV it was a lot of trial and error, especially in the early days. When it came to even my professional projects, we had to try different things out to see which aspects worked.
See, one of the parts that will never change is that the creative process takes time. Technology has enabled us to work faster and faster, sometimes at the speed of thought, but that doesn’t mean our thoughts are fully realized. They’re not. We need to work through certain portions.
That process leaves behind a wake of failed ideas. We must come to accept that. But understanding alone doesn’t cut it. So what does?
Recently, maybe about three months ago, I was turned onto Mark McGuinness who is a coach for creatives and a poet. He has a podcast called the 21st Century Creative. In season three, he gives advice to the doubting voice within our own heads using two simple words, which are: even though.
How do those two words work? Let me use them. Even though I’m not an author and every great story has been written, I’m going to write a novel.
You try it.
Need another example?
Even though there are lots of other fantastic motivators out there I’m going to spread my message and insights to the world, no matter how large or small an audience that may be.
Get the hang of it now?
Even though you have fears that you’ll inevitably fail, do it anyway. Apply my lesson of negative visualization which asks you to think through the worse possible outcomes. If you try and fail, what will actually happen? In the end, not much. Will you starve? Will you be homeless? Will you be laughed at? Probably not. And even if those are possibilities, ask other people around the world because there are worse outcomes than that. I don’t wish them upon you but one thing I’ve learned from all my failures is that there’s always another way. There’s always a way to pick yourself up and try again.
Act even when you’re afraid to fail. It will only propel you to greatness.
Also, learn from others who have failed before you. Plenty of people have provided a roadmap for you so you don’t have to bump your head as they did. That’s why I’ve created this show – so you can gain the insights that I’ve learned along the way and the insights I learned from my mentors (aka their failures) which sped up my growth trajectory. That’s the beauty of failure. It’s not just your own. It benefits everyone. So stop being afraid of failure.
And that’s this week lesson.
But before I wrap out, I want to give you a quick practical tip to benefit you, which is to download the Meet-Up app. It’s a fantastic app where you can search for hundreds of local groups in your area, from sports to creative projects. Lots of the activities I’m doing are thanks to that app. For example, each week I play soccer with great guys because of a group I found on the app. There are filmmakers I get together with because of the app. It’s limitless in terms of what you can find. If there’s not a group close to your area that you’re looking for, start one. You’d be surprised at the number of people who might be interested. And even if it’s a small amount, so what? That’s a few more people in your network than before. That’s the Meet Up app and it’s available on Android and iOS.
To recap, keep doing your projects in spite of fear. It is the only way to overcome that inherent and very natural feeling. Second, take advantage of the Meet Up app to meet new people and work on exciting projects. For your benefit, the transcript of this episode is on my website. A link is provided so you can always review it. Please be sure to hit that like button if you enjoyed this episode and tell your friends and family about us. It’s free and allows them to get the same benefit you just did. Also, leave a comment with your thoughts and opinions and what lessons you’d like to see me tackle next. The more specific you are with your questions, the better I can answer them. If it doesn’t burden you financially in any way, you can support this show on patreon.com/philsvitek. Every contribution is truly appreciated and helps defray the costs of putting on this show – which as you can imagine takes a lot of effort. To be notified when future episodes release, subscribe on the platform that’s most convenient to you – whether that be Apple Podcast, YouTube, Facebook, Google Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, Anchor and so on. Specific links are provided below. Lastly, if you’re a new host in the LA area, I encourage you to join AfterBuzz TV. It’s where I cut my teeth as have hundreds of other successful hosts, such as Derrial Christon, Kevin John and Stephanie Bauer to name a few. All you have to do is visit AfterBuzz TV’s contact page, which I’ve provided below. If you’re a college student, they also have a fantastic internship program. So check it out. To keep up to date with the show or other creative projects, you can follow @PhilSvitek or follow my producer Juliet Vibert @BonjourJuliet. Thanks for watching. I’m Phil Svitek and I’ll see you next week with another one of my lessons. Bye!
Full Transcript: http://philsvitek.com/failure-is-a-necessary-step-forward
Mark McGuinness Article: https://lateralaction.com/articles/inner-critic-technique/
Apple Podcast: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/a-phil-svitek-podcast/id1211417581?mt=2
AfterBuzz Contact Page: http://www.afterbuzztv.com/contact-faq/#toggle-id-18
Google Podcast: https://www.google.com/podcasts?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly9hbmNob3IuZm0vcy82ZGIwYWEwL3BvZGNhc3QvcnNz
Phil’s Instagram: http://instagram.com/philsvitek
Juliet’s Instagram: http://instagram.com/bonjourjuliet