Just like cookies and milk, creativity and failure are inseparable. And, like it or not, and most of us fall into the ‘not” category, the lessons derived from our failures are often responsible for our best creative works and innovations.
There is no magic wand to wave, no secret to uncover and, surely, no one person with advice that can keep the creative individual from failing. In fact, it is the creative individual’s ability to fail fearlessly and without apology that places them head and shoulders above others – for whom failure is a sign of inadequacy. So, don’t get it twisted, it is our failures and relentlessness, as we try and try again, that make the final product of our creative efforts so fulfilling.
Let us consider creativity as the final product whose process consists of many components. Those components are the love and nurturing that we experience (or don’t) as children, the safety and security of our environment, and the belief that we can bring about change through our thoughts and actions. These components impact our response to failure. Failing is merely part of the process that leads to discovery of the unforeseen. And isn’t that where the creative individual wants to go? The unforeseen is where something unique awaits. Where something untested lurks. Where something that makes people stand up and pay attention, hides. And that something is worth all of the pain and effort that come with failing.
Rest assured, true accomplishment is never without its fair share of pain. Perhaps, it is this pain that keeps many people from ever pursuing a creative endeavor. Talent alone is not enough. Courage and fearlessness are required to step off the ledge and lay your heart on the line. But even the hurt that comes with failure can lead you right back to your creative self, providing kindling for the passion fire that burns within.
While it is not where I find my inspiration, I have encountered artists and creative folk in non-artistic professions, who are motivated by deep hurt and anger. They are relentless, driven, and I must admit, I have sometimes marveled at their uncompromising single-mindedness. They have climbed to great heights and accomplished great things. Their turmoil, the denial of love or the need to prove themselves to the doubters, can be a powerful motivating force. But as we say in my neck of the hood, “I ain’t trying to go out like that.”
I prefer finding my inspiration in joyful places, places where my failures are forgiven as part of my process of discovery. I guess I am just happy that even in failure, there’s an opportunity to try, try again, until I get it right.