We’re willing to fall because we’ve learned how to rise. – @BreneBrown (Brené Brown)
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Do you let the fear of failure prevent you from succeeding? Are you unwilling to take risks because you are afraid of the results? Do you stand by while it feels like everyone around you is doing so well?
If you said yes to any of the questions above, you are not alone. We all have these thoughts. We are all afraid of failure. We are all scared of taking risks. We all feel inadequate when we compare ourselves to others. These are all normal feelings.
So how do you find success while these thoughts plague your mind? The answer is simple, but not easy. You have to go on despite your fears. You have to take risks knowing you might fail. You have to stop comparing yourself to others.
Success is a funny thing. In school, there is only one right answer. We make sure kids know when they’ve gotten an answer wrong. Red ink is abundant. We make students feel like a failure if they get anything below a B. It’s no wonder we’re all afraid of failing.
In the world after college, everything changes. People no longer expect us to find the one right answer. We are expected to experiment and figure things out for ourselves. We have to re-calibrate the way we approach problem solving.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned while trying to build my website and audience, it’s that there is no right answer. If your ideas succeed more than 50% of the time, you are doing an incredible job. That same score would flunk you out of school.
One of the most important lessons you can learn is that failure is not the end of the world. Failure teaches us lessons that success never could: It teaches us how to be resilient. It teaches us how to learn from our mistakes. It teaches us how to experiment and test things out for ourselves. It teaches us how to make it in the world as creators.
As artists and creatives, we must be willing to fall. It’s going to happen. A lot. So get used to it. The most important thing is that you learn how to rise too. You shouldn’t strive for failure, but it comes with the territory. The only way you will learn that lesson is if you are willing to try.
Photo by Unsplash
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“the grind never ends”
– @Usher (Usher Raymond IV)
It doesn’t matter if you’ve made one dollar or one million dollars from your art, one thing will always hold true: you can never stop working. The key to being a successful creator is not dependent on how much talent or luck you have.
It depends on how much effort you are willing to put in. It depends on how persistent you are. It depends on showing up every day to do the work.
Sure, talent also plays a role, but there are millions of talented people who never find success. Sure luck plays a role, but luck can only get you so far. Hard work, directed in the right place can take you farther than talent and luck ever could.
We all want to believe our work will speak for itself. We keep hoping and praying them someone will come along and discover us. But what if we are discovered? What if someone came to you and made all of your dreams come true? Would you stop working? What would you do?
Just ask all the one hit wonders what a few minutes of fame did for their careers. Are they still rich? Are they still adored by fans? Nope.
In order to build a sustainable career as an artist, you must keep going. You have to show up and do the work. Artists like Usher know how to stay on top. They are constantly creating new work. They innovate and try different things while everyone else becomes stale. They are willing to put in the hours while everyone else is taking it easy.
You may not want to be rich and famous like Usher, but everyone would love to be respected like he is. It doesn’t matter whether or not you like his music, you can still admire the fact that he has been able to build such a sustainable career.
You can do this too. You just have to be willing to put in the work to make it happen.
“Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.” – William Feather
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How many times have you given up just when you were on the cusp of success? You know you could do it, but chose to give up instead. It happens to many of us. It is often the factor that separates success from failure.
I have given up on many projects. I wanted to build a website where people could discover where to buy things they saw on Pinterest or Tumblr, but I gave up. I started a blog where I posted something new I learned that day, but gave up on that too.
I have quit on many projects without success. Could they have succeeded? Quite possibly, but I chose to move on to something else instead.
What separates someone who succeeds from someone who fails? Persistence.
The problem many of us have is, we give up when things don’t go the way we planned. We look at the success others have and wonder why we aren’t getting the same results.
We need to stop looking at others and focus on ourselves. We choose to ignore the hard work that others had to put in to get where they are. Instead, we choose to envy their status. This is an unhelpful and self-destructive practice.
Instead of envying what others have, congratulate them and figure out what you can do to find the same success. Don’t aspire to be a second rate version of someone else, choose to be a first rate version of yourself.
How do you do this? By putting in the work. Instead of giving up at the first sign of failure, choose to move on.
Malcom Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours to master any skill. Have you put in your 10,000 hours? Have you put in the hard work necessary for success? Will you choose to hang on while others let go?
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Photo by Sean Hobson