I was reading recently about how the US women’s soccer team had a photo in their locker room of them losing against Norway in 1995. Far from being a slap in the face, it was considered fuel for their success the following year. They were harnessing the power of their ‘failure’ to drive them on to greater things.
I used to consider I’d failed at a lot of things in my life: a failed drummer – even though I’d toured with bands like Mud and The New Seekers – a failed songwriter – even though I’d written for groups like The Weather Girls and Culture Beat – and a failed author – even though I’d penned a well received novel and an award-winning movie.
As I’ve mentioned here before, I could never have seen back then that all of these paths would become the backbone to where I am now… once I took my ego out of the frame. Understanding artists, learning to write and running various businesses has undoubtedly helped me to become a better gallerist. Those ‘failures’ were essential in helping me create a modicum of success in my chosen career today.
Perception is everything and although we should use our ‘failures’ to drive us on to greater things, we should also remember that, like momentum, no energy is ever wasted. No matter if we decide to take a curve in the road of life, which may slow us in the short term, any energy we’ve put into past pursuits will help drive us forward on the next stretch and will have given us tools to make the next part of our journey smoother and quicker.
Judging our successes against another’s is always a sure-fire way of feeling inadequate. Enjoy the highs of life for what they are and remember that any ‘failure’ is simply a valuable lesson learned to bring us closer to enjoying personal successes further down the road.