Thanks to a great video I watched yesterday (via Swerve) and a great book I have been reading (buy it on Amazon) I have been thinking about failure. Our culture today gauges success only based on success. Does that make sense? People only see that you're successful if you've got the bankroll, cars, house, etc. People gauge success on the deals you completed, the audience you've reached, the education and career you've established.

Hardly anyone looks at failure as a term of success. ('I'm trying to change my mindset on success and these thoughts are still fresh.')

'I didn't fail. I just found 1000 ways how not to make a lightbulb.' - Thomas Edison

When I was learning how to ride a bike my parents would take me to a wide open field. They'd get me on bike and let me go. I had room to fall on the grass. No cars to potentially squish me or my bike. I was free to learn the art of balance and precision. The field had a fence at the end of it. When I was learning to ride my bike I didn't know how to stop. I just knew how to go. I ran straight smack dab into that chain fence. Full force.

I learned how to use my brakes after that.

When was the last time you tried something without worrying if you would succeed or fail? Seth Godin, in his book Tribes, talks about sheepwalking. I think he coined the term. Most people in our Western Culture do what they think they're supposed to. Go to school, get good marks, go to college/university, get a good degree, go find a career, get paid well and so on and so on. Very few people find what they are passionate about, find what makes them tick and follow after it. They get herded into the sheep pen and get scared of seeing if the grass is greener on the other side.

What is it that you've always wanted to try, but have been too afraid of failing at?

Here's some of my rough notes from the title of this post:

Try. I have a passion to be more creative in the work I do. I have a passion to push myself, my work and my ideas out into the public eye. I have ideas and I don't want them to stay locked up inside my head forever.

Fail. I know I'm going to fail. I fear failure. I fear people saying my work is awful. I fear that people will tell me to let go of my dreams and tell me to move onto something more like sheepwalking. I've failed in the past with some big things, I know I'm going to fail again. I just need to come to terms with it.

Learn. I like to think I've learned from my mistakes. That's probably the point of having failures: to learn. I've learned I can't let everyone sway my passions, they are my passions. I have learned of what can look good, what doesn't. I think I have learned how to improve myself in a lot of different areas by trying and failing.

Adjust. From what I learn I take it back to drawing board and make adjustments. I move pixels, adjust dimensions, tighten keyframes or lower audio. I do what needs to be done in order to try again.

Next post I'm going to be a little more authentic, a little more transparent. I want to list the things I've tried, failed at, learned from and adjusted. It's a list more for me to recap things and make new plans for the future. I hope you'll stop by again.

(ht: Seth Godin and Craig Groeschel)

Matthew A. Hawkins