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If You’re Not Failing, You’re Doing It Wrong

Being an actual entrepreneur, or someone who has made drastic life changes, is a strange experience. It gives you a new outlook on life, and the people in your world slowly reveal who they really are. You’ll start to realize that those you once thought to be awesome and free are actually just screwing around, and don’t really have anything to show for their lives. I know that sounds mean, and sad, but it’s true. For me? I can’t be satisfied with that. Believe me, I’ve tried. I’m inherently lazy, and would love to do nothing all day long. A long time ago I had a job at Gamestop, and I almost stayed there for forever. To this day, I still miss it. It was the best job I’ve ever had. I didn’t have to go to work until 10am, we talked video games all day, and I did a very minimal amount of actual work throughout any given day. It was so great, yet as time went by I knew I had to leave and get something going. We get one life. One chance to make our mark. Spending what precious time you have living paycheck to paycheck doing work you hate makes zero sense, and there’s no excuse for it. No. Excuse.

Losing your fear of failure is the key. Being afraid of failure is counterproductive to life; failure will take you places you can only dream of. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true. When you accept that failure is going to happen to you no matter what, your life will change. It’s a funny thing, because failing is something that most people are terrified of, yet the consequences are rarely as bad as they imagined. Last month a friend of mine said “I want a new job, but I can’t put my resume out there because someone at my current company might see it and I’ll be fired.” This mindset baffles me. He wants to quit his job, but won’t find a new one due to his fear of being fired from the one he doesn’t want. It’s this self-doubting way of thinking thats kept him at that same job he loathes for ten years. I say, so what if he gets fired? Then he’ll be forced to search out a job he actually wants, and he’ll end up happier. Isn’t that good thing? Yes, yes it is. People also whine about the job market. Ever notice how people you know all complain about how there’s no jobs out there, yet, even if they’re unemployed, they’re still eating and not dying? Family, bills, work, you’ll figure it all out through the struggle if you’re actually determined. Like Jeff Goldblum says, “Life finds a way.”

I try to fail at something every week. I take on personal projects I have no business doing, and I fail at them until I’ve learned how to do it. For example: Rich and I needed a background to do Christmas pictures at Spectacle Photo. We decided on a chalkboard background that we could composite holiday chalk drawings on. The first thing we did was look up chalkboard paint. Lol that stuff is like $100 a pint, so we wanted to figure something else out. We decided to paint our entire wall black, and then rub chalk all over it. Massive failure. The chalk scratched the paint off the wall, and it didn’t stick. Then we tried putting baby powder on the wall. Another total failure. The powder fell off when we touched it, and it made a massive mess. Then we tried spraying flat matting over the powder to hold it down, which was another disaster. The matte spray just blew the powder off the wall. Finally, we mixed water and white paint and did a wash layer, and it worked out perfectly. Right there we failed at least three times, but those failures carried us to a solution. If we’d let the first failure affect us, or if we’d been too afraid to at least try at all, our Christmas photos wouldn’t be good. “Failure” is a just another word for “Lesson”. The more lessons you learn, the more you’ll succeed. I know this might be a smaller example, but starting a photography studio was done with the same mentality. The “Lets do it, we’ll deal with whatever happens.” mentality. So far a lot has happened, both good and bad, and we’ve dealt with it. There was never a real reason to be afraid in the first place, it was all just destructive speculation holding us back.

Also, don’t listen to all the naysayers. It can be tough, because they surround you, like it or not. Everyone will spring to life as soon as you try to implement an idea. They’ll start saying things like “Well, YOU should do it this way, didn’t you think of that?” and “Well, you know, so-and-so tried that and it didn’t work for him, but I’m sure you’ll be fine.” and “What about money, it just seems like an unnecessary risk to me.” Let me tell you something, anyone who talks to you like that is going nowhere. There’s no such thing as an unnecessary risk when it comes to making the changes that will change your world and eventually make your life better. What’s the worst that could happen? You’d lose your crappy apartment? You wouldn’t have as many shiny objects in whatever house you sleep in? So what. If someone is adamant to live in fear because of hypothetical things like that, they’re neither an entrepreneur or a person of action. They’re coasters, living a nerf life. Which is fine, to each their own, but you can’t let people like that sew little seeds of doubt in your mind with their bitter comments. You need to shove them out of your way and stop letting them talk to you like they know anything about success. If you’re reading this, these people are in your life. They’re the ones who have a ton of ideas but never follow through with them. Ever. As they get older they won’t even bother starting projects before they get bored and abandon them, at around 30 it becomes all talk from start to finish. All that talk and lack of action is rooted in fear, because most people are afraid to give up the things they have for the things they want. Don’t allow that to be you. Get over your fear, and start failing at something so you can succeed. At the very worst, you’ll end up like Chaucer, and he was a main character: