Failure

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We are all so afraid to fail, or even afraid to admit it when we do. But failure is a normal part of life, especially the life of an artist. We are tightrope walkers, attempting to do a profession that is odd, ridiculous, and against the laws of gravity. While our friends and family are firmly on the ground, we are 100 feet in the air, with nothing but a thin wire to keep us aloft. It’s a crazy way to make a living. And even when we “try our best” we are going to slip and fall. A lot. Best we recognize that and embrace it.

In her song Walking and Falling, Laurie Anderson explains how walking (progress) is intertwined with falling (failure): “You’re walking. And you don’t always realize it, but you’re always falling. With each step you fall forward slightly. And then catch yourself from falling. Over and over, you’re falling.”

Douglas Adams describes how a character learned to fly: “There is an art… or rather, a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.” In other words, flying is failing at falling.

And Ira Glass of This America Life simply says “if you’re not failing all the time, you are not creating a situation where you can get super lucky.”

Failure is ok. Failure is normal. Failure is nothing to be afraid of. Failure is a sign that at least, by god, I am trying. As long as I get up each time, dust myself off, and take another step, I’m making progress.

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1 Comment

  1. One more: the Japanese proverb “Fall seven times, stand up eight.”

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