Quite often in life we’re quick to say “yeah life is good”, but not as quick to share “well actually….”, We’ll quite often hide the times we feel like failures and times of disappointments in ourselves from others. We’re quick to share negative experiences say from a bad haircut or rude server, but less so of our own struggles or hard ships in life. Maybe that’s because we don’t want to dwell on those things, or maybe it’s more because we’re embarrassed to tell someone we failed, or it didn’t quite go as planned. It’s hard to share those things right?
I’ve had a few failures recently. (And successes). It’s important not to just bury our failures though, they’re what push us further to achieve. Well at least for me. Don’t get me wrong, I have a moment of upset (usually a few tears) when I feel disappointed I didn’t get through to the next staging of an art competition, or when I didn’t sell as many paintings as I’d wanted to, but then I move on. I use it to drive me forward, it teaches me, and I try to learn from it. Is there something I could do differently? Was my work the right fit for the competition? What successes can I see from the ‘thing’ I just failed at? What did I do right? The answers to those questions prepare me for the next time.
It’s strange how the world works sometimes. This morning I woke up feeling a bit blah. (Mainly because of a dream that I had…but that’s a whole other story) … I get up…. I checked my emails, and I received one from a competition I entered a month back. Feeling a little hopeful as I open the email I’m soon feeling disappointed to read, ‘we regret to inform you, you have not made it through to the next staging of the competition …blah blah blah’. Instant disappointment. In the same email I also read
“Rejection doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough: it means the other person failed to notice what you have to offer” Anon
It gets me thinking in a different light. It doesn’t quite shake off my disappointment completely, but it definitely reminds me not everyone is going to like everything I do, but it doesn’t mean I should stop what I’m doing. I feel disappointment many times… I enter many competitions…and I’d say more ‘reject’ me that ‘accept’ me, and I feel disappointment each and every time, (that’s very normal…right?) but then I get on with my day and keep moving forward, plugging away, (even with the disappointment) … and if I’m honest it won’t stop me trying again in the future. Whether it be competitions, or trying to get my work into galleries, I’ll be entering my work and asking for exposure. There’s likely many to reject me, but I know… I BELIEVE, there will be ones that accept me. I don’t even look at the knock backs as strengthening my back bone (although it would probably help a little), I look at it more as not letting it stop me persevering and pursuing my dream.
So back to the bit about how the universe works in crazy ways. The next thing I see is a video. One of the ted talk videos I think, about The Power of Belief. To believe in what we’re doing. We’re not just born smart or skillful, we build on it. Some have a fixed mindset and others have a growth mindset. Studies show that a growth mindset changes our abilities to achieve our goals. To fulfill our potential we need to start thinking differently. The video also teaches that setbacks and fails are a part of our growth, and “when we understand how to strengthen our abilities we strengthen the conviction that we’re in charge of them”. If we are determined enough and believe in ourselves we can achieve anything.
I believe I will make it as an artist. Don’t misunderstand me, my head is not in the clouds, (well maybe a little because I’m so tall! Haha) and my feet are firmly on the ground. I’m not oblivious to the struggles and frustrations I’ll feel along the way. But I embrace them…they’re part of the growth and a part of the journey! Without them how can I stay grounded and focused and feel value in my achievements. Nothing worth having comes easy. Why is that? Because the hard work to get to our goals makes it more valuable. We learn lessons about ourselves… and how to better what we’re doing. I don’t know about you, but I never want to stop learning. Especially with art. Not sure if you know this about me but art is my passion, and I get excited by a new technique or product, and I’m inspired by the world around me. Art is so innovative, and I don’t ever want to get to a point where I’ve learned all I can about art. (Which is impossible anyway! Lol)
But if it were, and I learned everything, then where do I go and what do I do?
So don’t shy away from failures, don’t allow your ego to take control, and make you feel like it’s something to be embarrassed about. Be a part of the group of people with a growth mindset. It increases our abilities to learn, and when we’re learning we’re advancing.