The Evolution of Failure – do it early

Part 1- Understanding

I recently watched a video clip on success featuring Will Smith, and it led me to a slightly longer Denzel Washington (he is an amazing speaker) clip.  Dazzled by the content I found myself wanting to blog about it, and my reaction once in words started to grow until it was obvious the word count would get out of control.  Off course it did because the more I looked into things the more I realised how well it fitted with the topics I have been pursuing lately.

I have spoken about consistency and confidence, and the need to celebrate the little things along the path to success (the three Cs). Those things are hugely important but I have begun to understand viewing success itself from a slightly different angle, can also contribute strongly to the actual success coming into being. The video clip brought certain questions to mind.  Are you, like me, working hard at your craft or profession (including parenting, physical activities and normal everyday life) and still find yourself feeling flat?

Are results elusive even with all that time and effort you invest? What about those three ‘Cs”?  You have them down pact but without downplaying their importance, they don’t appear enough. What is missing because the word fail rears its ugly head on a regular basis? The strange truth is that to really succeed we apparently need to fail and fail in a certain order. We need to – well, let’s let Will say it for us.

  1. Fail

Do it early.

  1. Fail

Do it often

  1. Fail

Do it forward

At first it seemed almost a negative concept and far from conducive to doing well. It wasn’t until I watched both video clips a few times that I got it. Denzel’s clip is a little more involved and more suited to Part 2 when we look at failing often. For now it’s enough to accept failure needs to happen. At the beginning of any venture we are all so enthusiastic that the thought of failure is not palatable. We don’t give it value because we don’t see the value yet getting it wrong is an education into what not to do, a way into getting it right.

Venturing into new areas that matter to us can be compared to being given an elephant to eat. We need to understand there is a lot of elephant to get through, and that elephant hide is tough. To get through it we need to attack with one small bite at a time. (Why do we use elephants in this expression? Does anyone know? Elephants are such magnificent creatures that it seems obscene. Why not a tree trunk?) Anyway the point is that it’s logical for a newbie to find it hard and get it wrong.  We don’t know enough.

When I made the decision to self-publish I began a journey where getting it wrong was an essential part of the trip, or so I came to discover. No matter the strength of your desire there are potholes even on the best roads, and those potholes are deadly. But, what if we need to get it wrong in order to get it right? Failing early might just make sense. For me, affording editing has been a huge problem. Giving up was out of the question; learning to do it myself a reasonable solution. So, that’s what I did and of course I missed things. It’s impossible not to in your own work. I guess I failed early.

I worked harder. I did another edit. The results were better, not perfect so another early fail. I re-edited. It improved. Failing early provides some useful insights into the process we are involved in. This is a plus, right? We can probably stop at this level and appreciate finding a comfort zone. It’s still success, isn’t it?  As individuals we have the right to choose what we do but we need to know why we are doing what we do. Do we fancy the comfort zone because we are afraid to fail again? Are we willing to give up our dreams to avoid failing again? Is there more to this? Is it fear of failing again, or of failing again and again? But haven’t we done so already? And, aren’t we still here to tell the tale?

Stay tuned for Part 2.


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