Success and Failure

Photograph of a three panel Japanese artwork with a pheasant on a tree branch laying on a persian rug.
I was looking at some Japanese art history books and prints and made a cell phone image of this one.  I set it on floor and enjoyed how the persian rug framed the image.


I had an epiphany this afternoon while reading a book about creative thinking that I think might be helpful to share…

When we look at the success of others we only see it from the outside. From our perspective it looks like success came easily due to natural talent or gifts.

What the successful person sees from their inside perspective is all their failures that led to their success.

As a teacher I meet so many people who are afraid to try because they are afraid of failure. To them I say “run towards your failures as those will be your best teacher and will shape your success.”

Being creative requires being brave enough to fail. Being a successful creative requires being willing to live with failure on a daily basis. Being an artist is about starting at point A and heading towards an unknown point B. The failures are the weigh points along the way that help guide our direction.

A good example of how failure lead to success is William Henry Fox Talbot. The development of photography can be traced back to the failed attempts by William Henry Fox Talbot to draft the beauty of the landscape at Lake Como by hand in 1833.

He wrote: “How charming it would be if it were possible to cause these natural images to imprint themselves durable and remain fixed upon the paper! And why should it not be possible? I asked myself.” 

To read more about William Henry Fox Talbot click here

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