Fail often and enjoy it for it’s the quickiest way to success. I have figured this out pretty early in my life, somehow I found in myself the ability to fail, pick myself up, observe what I’ve done wrong, adjust and then succeed on the second or third try.
Yes, it is possible to succeed without failing but it will take a lot of time. Planning all your actions, reactions and moves is very time consuming and sometimes the situation doesn’t even call for it. Sometimes you are taking so much time to prepare for something just because you are simply afraid of failing. When an oportunity appears, don’t hesitate a second and go for it, if you miss it you have to create new opportunity. There is one motivational quote that I really love and try to live by, I don’t remember the name of the speaker but it goes something like this „It doesn’t matter what happens to you, it only matters what you are going to do about it“. Okay, enough of this fluff, I will give you my real world experience.
When I was younger I was really shy, got emberrased very easily and always tried to avoid awkward situations so I didn’t have to suffer. Then I realized that there are other people that could get in the same situation and feel totally different way. If I was to speak in front of 100 000 people I’d be terrified, but for some people it could actually be a joyful experience. I was trying to make sense of it and since I didn’t think that those people have that much different DNA I came to the conclussion that I have the same body and head as they have but I’m using it wrong. I didn’t really knew how to use it right but this was the time I came with the idea to just do the thing I was afraid to do, fail or succeed (surprisingly once you are not afraid to fail your chances of succeeding increase significantly right of the bat) then adjust and go for it again. Of course I’m not talking about speaking to thousands of people, my challanges were really small but hey – I worked out a technique that helped me to get where I am now. From asking girls out I got to asking for pay raise, negotiating contracts and presenting my ideas to larger groups of people.
So, where and how can we apply this? People are afraid of failing. The fear holds them back, the only rule is to let go of that fear.
The most obvious thing is the perfection trap. Or the fear of not being good enough. Many beginners but even pros have fallen into it. When learning something new your goal is to learn, not to be perfect. Once again because you didn’t read it of course, you never read the obvious stuff, right? Your goal is to LEARN not to be perfect. For animation it is recommended that you start sketching because it draws your attention to details you would otherwise miss, some people don’t get that they are learning and instead of producing hundreds „bad drawings“ that are evolving rapidly, they keep working on one and they are trying to get it right. There was a study made that showed the results of two groups creating pots, one group was supposed to do a single pot in 3 months, the second group was supposed to do pot a day everyday for 3 months, guess what, after 3 months the group that was doing pot a day had SO MUCH BETTER RESULTS.
The second biggest fear is fear of being judged or ridiculed. In other words people tend keep their mouth shut and stand in the same line as everybody else simply just because they are afraid of speaking about their ideas. Stop that, you are robbing yourself as well as the team. I remember a time when I decided to make a presentation for 4 people (the executive Producer, executive creative art director, game director and also the head of studio) about some important issue in the company. Of course in this situation you can’t really go there without preparation, so I did my research and knew what I wanted to say but boy I was so scared, just by writing about this I get the butterflies in my stomach and feel a bit sick, the same sick that I felt during that day. Anyway long story short, I went in the meeting room (with a suspiciously long detour to the toilet for some confidence regain and brief meditation beforehand of course) and I literally fought through the pain, my heart was beating so much that my voice was cracking up a bit, I was sweating like a mad man but I made it all the way through and I brace yourself – I wasn’t ridiculed at all I was actually surprised by the reaction, it was the best experience of my professional life, after the presentation they told me I did a great job and even shook my hand I dont know what happened next I just hope I didn’t black out or something.
The only fear you should have is fear of inaction. If you fail you at least know what you’ve done wrong. If you don’t do anything you are still standing on square one.