003: It's Okay To Fail #LetsGetReal
One of the best ways to learn and grow is to fail, so don’t be afraid! How do you expect to level up if you don’t face some bosses and a few lost battles?
00:00 - Hey squad, what’s up! Welcome to the Sublation Studio Podcast. We’re going to switch it up a bit today and we’re going to kick off the “Let’s Get Real” series. These episodes are going to be shorter than usual, they’re raw, they’re unfiltered, off the cuff. I’m going to mess up, I’m going to stumble over words, but hey why not? It’s basically putting all the business out there and putting people on blast, if need be. So let's jump right in!
00:23 - Let’s get real about failure. I mean, hey, can we talk about how it's okay to “fail” at something you thought you wanted? You tried something because you thought you'd like it, maybe you invested in a course or class or you bought some supplies, then realized..yeah, nope. That was cuter on Instagram. Or maybe it’s something that as a hobby you don’t want to turn into a career or something that you want to do everyday for a living. That. Is. Okay.
00:51 - There is no “right” way to try something? Yeah, if you want to get a degree you’re going to have to follow a certain curriculum or a path or a track. Of course! And if you’re a doctor, you don’t want to fail at open heart surgery. We’re not talking about that stuff. We’re talking about, you had an idea to just try something out for the first time. I feel like there’s no “right” way to do that.
01:15 - You're going to hear people preach the all-or-nothing method. They are going to tell you “if you don't quit your day job to try this new hustle then you don't really care - you just claim to care”. Or they’re going to guilt you into spending all this crazy money on gear and courses and coaches because that's allegedly what people who are serious about this thing do - that’s how they pursue it. Honestly, fuck them and fuck that advice. Everyone's situation is different. Your level of interest in something, your finances, your ability, your access, etc. It’s different. It varies from person to person, so you can’t really make a blanket statement like that. How people explore is radically different. That’s the point in exploring: doing it your way or not having a way at all and just going with the flow, making decision off the cuff, seeing what happens as things unfold. Maybe that’s taking a one day letterpress class and that’s enough for you to decide “yeah, this is really what I want to commit to” or “no, maybe just every now and then for fun”. Maybe you’re the personality type where you jump all in - you’re all in or nothing. You get the fancy gear, you get the coaching, you do everything to the most professional level possible from day one. And that is also okay. How you want to try something is entirely up to you. Whether that’s a new career, new hobby, a new gender identity, a new haircut, a new hair color, trying out a new major in university, whatever it is. It’s totally up to you.
02:41 - The way I see it, whatever that thing is that you want to try, you’re either going to succeed or you’re going to learn - I don’t see it as failure. I think about all the countless times I was stuck fighting a boss in an RPG and how many tactics I had to try before beating that boss. And then those same tactics were beneficial to me, and I used them to my advantage, on the next boss. Or how many hours I spent running around a town in a video game, talking to all the townspeople, going at night, going at morning, seeing if there are different people that’ll maybe give me different information. Or searching that one abandoned house, searching all the drawers until I’m just like “fuck it, I’m going to try this crazy idea and see what happens”. I’m going to push this crate up against the wall, jiggle this broken lightbulb, and maybe that’ll be the magical switch. And that’s the thing that works! You learn so much throughout that process.
03:37 - To me, it’s better to fail at 100 things than not try anything at all because one, not trying anything at all is boring as hell, and two, because no matter what, you’re going to get experience, you’re going to push yourself, you’re going to think outside the box, and you’re going to get knowledge. All that comes from the attempt, from the effort itself, regardless of the outcome. You might not have accomplished something in the initial way you wanted or in the ideal way that you had in your head but that doesn’t invalidate your drive to do something nor does it invalidate your experience of going through that. Somethings are catastrophic system-wide failures. They are just setbacks, challenges, or little hurdles. Things that you will grow through and go through. You’ll come out better for it.
04:25 - If all of that still doesn’t work for you, think of it this way: Through this “failure”, maybe you’ll get clarity in terms of redefining what you consider success. Instead of success being “hey, I want to make money from my art”, maybe it becomes “I just want to paint every weekend because that gives me a moment of clarity, it’s good for my mental health, and it keeps my skills on point”. That’s your new definition of success. Instead of success being “hey, I want that new job title”, maybe it’s “I’m going to be the best in damn person in my department and the go-to person. I’m going to be respected and I’m going to be dependable, without being the Chief of blah blah or the Executive of blah blah.” Instead of success being “I’m going to lose 50 pounds” or “I’m going to run 20 kilometers”, maybe it simply becomes “I want to chase my kids around the yard without getting winded. I want to enjoy those moments and be present with them. I don’t have trophies or accolades from 50 triathlons I ran but I have these priceless memories with my kids”.
05:29 - And in terms of personal failure? There’s a list! I failed spectacularly at a long-term relationship - crash and burn, crime scene, smoke for miles away. The relationship itself failed, it takes two to tango, but how it’s phrased, I still came out of that with so much invaluable knowledge. I wouldn’t take that whole relationship back just because of the shitty ending. I wouldn’t Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind it away because I learned what I don’t want in a future partner and I learned about some serious, legit character flaws I needed to work on. I failed at being a visual effects artist. That was my first major in university - did not work so well. But I wouldn’t Black Mirror wipe that either because that’s what led me to graphic design. It led me to a whole new career path and an interest I didn’t even know I had - it wasn’t even on my radar. Hell, I fail all the time, day to day, just sticking to little things I say I’m going to do. Even that teaches me that I need to prioritize better and re-examine what I consider valuable to spend my time on. It doesn’t have to be a big failure, it can be a little failure, and everything in-between. There is still value there. It’s okay to fail!
07:02 - So try, try, try. Fail, fail, fail. And if you’re lucky and smart about it, you’ll get a whole lot of life out of it all. Thanks for listening today, you beautiful little failures, go out there and fail fantastically! Then I want you to come back and give me the tea! Tell me some lessons you learned, what you did differently the second time around, how your life got messy, give me all the details. Feel free to hit me up on IG or Twitter at sublationstudio. As always, the transcript is up on sublationstudio.com/podcast. Catch you on the next episode!