Updated: Sep 6, 2018
What is one of the most powerful strategies for success in, not only art, but day
to day living?
The single most important thing, in my opinion, is how we deal with failure. Unfortunately in the West we have been raised in a culture that sees failure as something to be
despised, derided and avoided at all costs.
For any creative person this is
anathema because every creative enterprise, from making a painting to building a million dollar business is built on making mistakes and learning from them.
This being the case, what we really need then, is a way to reframe how we think
about, approach, and deal with mistakes and failures. I often say to my students, when they are trying to draw a perfect elipise -
'the easiest way to draw an ellipse is to go round and round and round and then just rub out the lines you don't want. So instead of thinking, “I’m so bad at this I keep drawing heaps of lines and then I still don’t get it right”....
You feel good that all you have to do is rub out a bit of pencil and there, you have it- a Perfect ellipse.' It always amazes me how just a small shift in our thinking can make such a huge change to some things. The trouble is that our brains seem to be wired to loop in on the negative, and once there, the thoughts
go round and round. And the problem with that is, that every time that loop happens, we build on the story until
we have manufactured a fiction that we have fully bought into and managed to
disempower ourselves in the process.
Why is mastering this attitude to failure so important? Why, because no one can
go through life without making mistakes. Hey, we’re human. It comes with the territory. It’s how we learn, from the time we take our first steps until our last.
What are three ways you might reframe some gnarly problems that keep cropping up for you?
Please share in the comments, your thoughts, insights and experiences about failureand making mistakes, and what it has taught you.
NEXT WEEK: The journey of my latest painting.......