Failure as part of the Creative Process

I've been thinking a lot lately about the creative process. More accurately, I've been thinking about the usefulness of failing. Most people hate failing. Some are crippled by their fear of failure. I would like to suggest that there is nothing more useful to the creative process than a few failures. First, a quote from Teddy:

It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strongman stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who was actually in the arena. Whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly. Who errs, who comes short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcoming, but who does actually strive to do the deeds. Who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory or defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt- "Citizenship in a Republic" If you never want to fail, just don't ever do anything and Viola! You'll never fail. Here's how a typical project goes for me:

  • start the project
  • hate whatever I just did and trash it
  • start over, suck again and trash that
  • make something cool, show someone else, realize that one sucks too. Trash it
  • go back and look at everything gleaning the good from the rubble
  • use the good ideas from the failures and avoid what made them suck
  • knock the project out of the park
  • I've come to understand one thing very well: failure is part of success. Show me someone who has never failed and I'll show you a liar or someone who has never tried anything.