To fail is to creatively grow

Posted: October 16, 2015

Are you prepared to fail?

Are you prepared to fail?

Many of you have practised something for years, consistently going after your dream, applying hours of dedication to your craft or ability. Knowing that you have spent your 10,000th hour on your craft, would you still be willing to fail?

Practise and dedication doesn’t necessarily make you perfect, it just gives you a better understanding and it makes you well versed in the subject matter. As adults we become concretised in the idea that we should make less mistakes, that we aren’t wrong and that we need to mitigate failure.

Have you ever noticed how children don’t have the same burning desire? In fact, in comparison, children, have an excellent ability to adapt and give anything a go. Have you ever perceived how children are not frightened of being wrong and much more open to failure?

With that in mind, it becomes evidently clear that failure and making mistakes impede on our ability to be creative. Creativity is simply the willingness to try, to not be complacent and not be afraid to make mistakes. Creativity as a notion has typically been reserved for the misfits, the rebels, the musicians, the artists or ‘the creatives’.

But, this is not true as we are all born with the ability to create. Picasso even said that we were all born as artists. What has happened over time is that within the culture in which we are raised, negative feedback and our working environments have stamped out our creativity. We have been told that we are not allowed to fail, not to get it wrong and not to make mistakes. We are living in an age that has stifled and quashed creativity to death.

And because of this we have lost our willingness to fail.

We were taught on a daily basis, for about 21 years of our lives, how not to make mistakes in school. Academia doesn’t allow much room for different ways of thinking, so we are taught what is wrong instead of what could be right on the basis of the quality of our thinking. Instead there is simply the knowledge of what’s wrong.

Business too is guilty of compounding this and society has built a stigma around making mistakes. Again impeding our ability to come up with extraordinary ideas and quality thinking.

The result?

We now have a planet full of educated people, more educated than ever before in the history of man(mad)kind. Therefore, an entire system constantly teaching people to grow out of their natural creative talent and who cannot think creatively.

In our current reality, we function in the belief that a true product of success comes from our academic ability instead of the willingness to try. Which is really sad, given that we were all born as artists with the inherent ability to create. We seem to have grown out of our creative ability, instead of growing into our creative ability.

There needs to be far more tolerance for the people who are willing to be ‘creative’ – willing to fail. This doesn’t mean that we have to tolerate every single mistake. What it means is that we need to be open to the quality of ideas, thoughts and recommendations, open to possibilities and to different ways of thinking.

In order for business to survive and to extract the best, in order to be the best, we need a massive shift. As young leaders within business there is a responsibly on our shoulders to be able to recognise this energy, and advocate it. As leaders we need to inspire, create interest, teach, nurture and motivate people who can think and produce the best ideas, because they’re the right kind of people to have on a team and to have in the world.

It’s these kind of people that will create the biggest changes and have the boldest ideas as well as leave the biggest voids if we continue to narrow the encouragement of failure, as it is a necessary part to successfully growing creativity.

By: Tarryn Pitchers

Position: Marketing Manager

Twitter: @tarrynpitchers