Don’t be afraid to fail.
That’s it. That’s the whole thing.
We could stop here.
Ok, maybe there’s more to it than that…
Aside from, maybe, the cast and crew of “Jackass,” no one wakes up in the morning, takes in a deep breath, and asks themselves how can they fail spectacularly that day.
It’s never an intention to mess something wrong, have something go haywire, or flat out not work, but I’m here to tell you that those things happen. They’re a natural part of the human existence.
You’re flesh and bone, not metal and bolts.
No one should have to go into any environment afraid to fail.
This was made all the more apparent, to me, when I watched “The Imagineering Story” on Disney Plus. It’s a wonderful 6 part documentary, discussing the Disney Imagineering team, and how they came up with the stuff we know and love, from theme parks to rides and more.
One of the things that was emphasized, in the later episodes, was that the team was never afraid to fail – the failure was in not trying. They demonstrated how they tried different designs, drawings, attraction mockups, etc. They would go through a series of recurring missteps, but they always took it in stride, learned from it, and kept going.
This is something I have to remind myself, at least every other day: You’re human, errors happen. It’s very easy to get caught up in the idea, that your error will bring about the downfall of civilization, that your mistake will cause Rome to burn, will cause the financial markets to collapse, etc. It’s very easy to do that to yourself.
But if you aren’t afraid to fail, if you’re given the space to take chances, run with an idea, make errors, learn from them, try, try again, then you could find yourselff able to soar higher than you could’ve imagined.
Now, of course, no one wants to just make mistakes all over the place for the sake of “Well, I’m not afraid to fail, so let’s keep it constant.” The point here, and the point of what the Imagineers were saying and doing is that in the course of natural work, discovery, and research you could come across something that excites you. You should be given some reasonable space to try it. If it fails, ok, that’s ok, analyze, gather some takeaways and move on.
When you don’t limit yourself, you become limitless…