Monday, August 2, 2010

Failure Isn't Fatal

You shouldn't be afraid of should be afraid of this rhino.

Many times, people see the next step in their journey towards their dreams, but don't take it. Most of these times the reason behind not taking that step is fear of failing. Let us tell you something: nearly 100% of the time, failure is not fatal, so take that risk!

We have found that in many cases, the next step is so close, yet so many turn back because they are afraid of failing. Yes, sometimes there are other reasons for backing down, but most of the time taking the next step is possible, but we invent reasons and excuses why we shouldn't do something.

There is a difference, however, between fear of failing and researched, factual-based decision making, but most of the time it is actually our fear doing the convincing, not scientific research papers. For example, you have a decent enough reason to not submit to galleries that specifically show abstract paintings if you work exclusively in a style akin to classical realism. You do NOT have reason enough to skip submitting your work to a high-end gallery that does show work that is sort of similar to yours.

A tangent of that idea is that doing something without research and regard to anything or anyone is different from taking fearless, researched action towards your goals. If you want to be a fine art photographer, it makes little sense to just send your portfolio to every single art director in the world, as some won't even be into photography.

Back to the main point of this: failure is not fatal. We often think that it will be the end of the world in the worst case scenario. Most often, unless you're a superhero who actually defends the planet from an evil menace, everything will be okay if you mess up here and there. Failure needs to shake it's negative stigma and be seen as a necessary building block to figuring out what does work. Besides, what is really the worst that could happen from failing? By actually speaking your fears out loud, you'll realize that often the fears are ungrounded, completely irrational, and very possibly absurd.

Afraid of submitting your portfolio to art directors? What's the worst that can happen? You just never hear from them? If your work isn't up to par, they're not going to even comment - they're too busy. No one is going to tell you that they hate your work or that you shouldn't be an artist - you just won't hear back. And really, is that the end of the world? Hardly. Poop poop.

Monkey + Seal isn't advocating to act brashly. We aren't advising you to jump blindly into the fray, throwing caution to the wind. We are advising that you really stop and think (and vocalize) about your fears, and evaluate them at face value. Really, if you fail, what's the absolute worst that could happen? Don't let irrational fear hold you back. Breathe deep and go for it!

PS - if you aren't sure if your fears are justified or irrational, ask a friend (and yes, that includes us)!

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